Scientists find powerhouses that fight tumours from within

  • Thursday 16, January 2020 10:42 AM
  • Scientists find powerhouses that fight tumours from within
Sharjah24 – AFP: Lurking deep inside some tumours are "factories" full of immune cells that help the body fight a rearguard action against cancer and are key to helping some patients recover, new research has shown.
In recent years, doctors have turned to a new treatment for cancer, immunotherapy, which works by leveraging the body's immune system to fight tumours.

The technique has largely focused on white blood cells called T-cells, which are "trained" to recognise and attack cancer cells.

But the innovative treatment only works well for around 20 percent of patients, and researchers have been trying to understand why some people respond better than others.

Three papers published on Thursday in the journal Nature point the way, identifying a key formation inside some tumours: tertiary lymphoid structures (TLS).

These structures function like "factories or schools" for immune cells that help the body fight cancer, said Wolf H. Fridman, a professor emeritus of immunology at the Cordeliers Research Centre of the Paris Descartes University medical school, who helped lead one of the studies.

"The cells need to be educated in schools, which are the tertiary lymphoid structures," where they effectively learn to recognise and attack cancer cells, Fridman said.