Lung cancer is the third most common type of cancer in Germany and the disease affects both men and women. However, immunotherapies are successful in only 20 percent of cases. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered a special mechanism that regulates tumour growth in lung cancer. This opens up new possibilities in the treatment of lung cancer patients. The results were published in the journal Oncoimmunology.
The body’s immune system sometimes responds to lung cancer but sometimes it fails, letting the cancer take over.
The immune system not only fights pathogens, but is also capable of recognising and eliminating pathologically mutated cells. ‘Sometimes the body’s immune system responds to lung cancer but sometimes it fails, letting the cancer take over’, says Prof. Dr. Susetta Finotto, head of the Department of Molecular Pneumology at Universitätsklinikum Erlangen. The reason that this immune response is switched off in lung cancer patients has not yet been sufficiently researched.
The body usually reacts to tumour cells with an immune response. An important signal molecule, the so-called transcription factor Tbet, plays a role in tumour defence, whereby T helper cells of group 1 (Th1 cells) and CD8 T cells (that combat tumours) are
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