Scientists at the VIB-UGent Center for Medical Biotechnology have taken important steps forward in the development of a cancer-targeting immunotherapy. The research team developed a treatment in mice that destroys part of the tumor and stimulates the immune system to attack persistent surviving cancer cells. In addition, the researchers demonstrated that the treatment provides protection against the development of tumor formation in other areas of the body. Their findings have been published in the renowned academic journal Nature Communications.
Chemo- and radiotherapy are effective in reducing tumor size, but they unfortunately also affect healthy cells. The human immune system is a more accurate weapon, which has evolved to recognize and eliminate disease-causing cells. However, cancer cells employ a range of different strategies to confuse and thwart the immune system. Immunotherapies, which help stimulate the immune system to better identify specific cancer cells, show promising results, but are still in need of a great deal of improvement.
An example for the immune system
The team of Prof. Xavier Saelens (VIB-UGent Center for Medical Biotechnology) seeks to enhance immunotherapy approaches in an inventive way by provoking a certain type of cell death, called necroptosis, in cancer cells. Previous VIB research has
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