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Physicians first forced the immune system to completely destroy breast cancer

Molecular biologists from the United States successfully “reprogrammed” immune cells for the first time and forced them to destroy the tumor in the woman’s breast and all of its metastases. The woman has lived 22 months after the treatment, says an article published in the journal Nature Medicine.

“We are on the verge of a new big revolution in the fight against cancer – now we have the opportunity to target the immune system to fight many different mutations.” Soon, doctors will have the opportunity to fight those types of cancer that were previously considered incurable due to the fact that they can easily accumulate new mutations, “- commented on the discovery of Lazlo Radvanya, an oncologist from the University of Toronto (Canada).

In recent years, molecular biologists and physicians have begun to place special hopes on so-called immunotherapy in the fight against cancer, allergies, diabetes and other as yet untreatable diseases. It is very simple in its essence – scientists try to “set” human immunity on cancer cells, using various antibodies, living microbes and a number of other unusual “baits”.

To date, there are already several types of immunotherapy, successfully passed clinical trials and approved by the regulatory authorities of the United States and several other countries. Most of them are synthetic antibodies that cling to cancer cells and make them “visible” to the immune system.

Steven Rosenberg of the National Institute for Cancer Research in Bethesda, USA, and his colleagues created a new type of immunotherapy that can combat aggressive forms of breast cancer and used it to save the life of a 49-year-old woman, Judy Perkins, who was not helped by chemotherapy and surgery. According to the doctors’ forecasts, she had to live a couple of months.

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Scientists approached the problem of “training” immune cells from a relatively unusual side – they did not wait until the necessary cells appear in the test tube or are found in the body of a woman, and they themselves made them using DNA and RNA fragments of cancer cells.

For this, the scientists selected the most successful parts of those genes that were damaged in the tumor cells of this patient, and transplanted them into special immune bodies, the so-called dendritic cells. In a normal environment, they absorb antigens and pass on to T-cells, the main conductors of the immune system, which in turn force the rest of its components to attack the threat on whose surface this antigen is.

Rosenberg and his team accelerated this process by observing how dendritic cells interacted with different T cells extracted from a woman’s tumors. After selecting several of the most active conductors of the immune system, scientists multiplied these cells, creating several billion copies of them, and introduced them back into the woman’s body.

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In addition to cells, these injections contained antibodies to the PD-1 gene, the main brake of the immune system, which caused the reprogrammed cells to attack the tumor as aggressively as possible.

Such therapy proved to be extremely effective – all tumors in the body of a woman began to decrease in size and disappear literally from the first week after the injection. Six months after the start of treatment, virtually all metastases disappeared, and by the 48th week all traces of cancer had completely disappeared from her body. At the moment, the patient Rosenberg lived for 2.5 years and until there are no traces of the return of cancer in her body is not observed.

RIA Novosti

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