Scientists have created cells capable of killing cancer for the first time. The cells naturally occur in small numbers, but it is hoped injecting huge quantities back into a patient could turbo-charge the immune system.
Researchers at the RIKEN Research Centre for Allergy and Immunology revealed they have succeeded for the first time in creating cancer-specific, immune system cells called killer T lymphocytes.
To create these, the team first had to reprogramme T lymphocytes specialised in killing a certain type of cancer, into another type of cell called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells).
These iPS cells then generated fully active, cancer-specific T lymphocytes.
These lymphocytes regenerated from iPS cells could potentially serve as cancer therapy in the future.
Previous research has shown that killer T lymphocytes produced in the lab using conventional methods are inefficient in killing cancer cells mainly because they have a very short life-span, which limits their use as treatment for cancer.
To overcome the problems, the Japanese researchers, led by Hiroshi Kawamoto reprogrammed mature human killer T lymphocytes into iPS cells and investigated how these cells differentiate.
( via dailymail.co.uk )