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How immune cells destroy cancer cells - MDC researchers elucidate mechanism
Date:1/17/2012

, comparable to clinical-size tumors in patients. Only then, according to the researchers, is the development of the tumor tissue (tumor stroma), which also includes the tumor vasculature, complete. The tumor is then considered "established". The aim of tumor therapy is to kill all cancer cells to prevent the recurrence of cancer disease.

The researchers showed in mice that the tumor is destroyed by the drug-mediated inactivation of the oncogene, but that the tumor vasculature and thus the blood supply of the tumor remains intact. In addition, due to a high mutation rate, some cancer cells become resistant to the drug and quickly generate new tumors despite continual administration of the anti-cancer drug.

Adoptive T-cell therapy, the researchers noted, is more effective in the mice in the long term, because it destroys the blood supply of the tumor. In addition, it evidently intercepts cancer cells that have altered their characteristics via mutations and thus escape drug treatment. In adoptive T-cell therapy, the researchers modulate the cytotoxic T cells (immune cells toxic for the cell) in the test tube in such a way that the T cells recognize certain features on the surface of cancer cells and specifically destroy the tumor cells. Then these primed immune cells are transferred back into the mice. The researchers point out that techniques to produce highly specialized T cells against human tumors have recently been developed following previous studies by Professor Blankenstein's research group. Now it will be important to determine exactly how these immune cells can be used in future clinical trials.

*Oncogene-targeting T cells reject large tumors, while oncogene inactivation selects escape variants in mouse models of cancer


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Contact: bachtler@mdc-berlin.de
bachtler@mdc-berlin.de
49-309-406-3896
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Source:Eurekalert

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