17 Jan
Scientists Discover Control Device for Melanoma Scientists Discover Control Device for Melanoma

Scientists Discover Control Device for Melanoma

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The new mechanism, recently discovered by Australian scientists, could help to bolster cancer treatments.

A study published in the journal Nature by the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity (Doherty Institute) and Telethon Kids Institute researchers examined the role of a specific immune cell -- tissue-resistant memory T cells (TRM) -- in battling melanoma.

Researchers discovered that TRM cells had the capacity to control such a tumor in mice for as long as the animal lived. This is believed to equate to decades of similar protection in humans.

Simone Park, a Ph.D. student at the University of Melbourne as well as a member of the Doherty Institute, said in a news release, “Using a special microscope, we could see individual melanoma cells sitting in the skin of the mouse, and could watch the T cells move through the skin, find the melanoma cells and control the growth of those cells.”

A key issue for cancer patients is the possibility that a tumor could re-emerge years after chemotherapy or surgery. According to existing research, small groups of cancer cells can live on in the body after treatment. The Doherty study looked closer at the immune system in ways that would be impossible to do on humans.

“I was able to see through moving images that these TRM cells are important for maintaining the control of the tumor cells," said Ms. Park. "If you remove the TRM cells you have a break in that control and the cancer can start to grow back again."

As a result, she explained, if scientists could manufacture more TRM cells by way of immunotherapies, or enrich the powers of existing ones, anti-tumor immunity could be strengthened.

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Read 1075 times Last modified on Tuesday, 08 January 2019 04:58
Jim Lillie

Jim began writing for newspapers and designing for publishing companies at a time when both industries were just beginning to make the switch from manual to digital platforms. Jim lives in Boulder, Colorado with his teenage son.

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