Posted by: Viktor Mar | 2009 April 30

Scientists boost cancer immune response TORONTO (UPI)

TORONTO (UPI) — Canadian scientists say they’ve found a way to improve a cancer patient’s immune responses that could lead to using the patient’s own cells to kill tumors.
A team of scientists at the Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto and their colleagues said their findings demonstrate the potential of immunotherapy in cancer treatment.
In the lab study, the scientists led by Dr. Pamela Ohashi combined interleukin — a key component of the immune system — with a viral vaccine to improve the ability of the cells of the immune system to attack tumors. They discovered the combination boosted immunity to tumors.
“We are extremely excited because our research has revealed the unexpected ways IL-7 works to break down barriers that naturally block the immune response to tumors,” said Ohashi. “This is important because current vaccine approaches for immune therapy induce a response in just 1 percent to 3 percent of patients.
The study’s co-author, Dr. Tak Mak, added: “The promise of using the body’s own defenses to fight cancer is enormous. The day is coming when immunotherapy may help spare cancer patients the toxic side effects of traditional therapies and greatly improve their quality of life while treating the disease.”
The findings appear in the online edition of the journal Nature Medicine.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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