A team of scientists from University College London (UCL) have a made a discovery that highlights the potential for personalized cancer treatments.
The researchers discovered a unique set of markers called antigens in tumors, writes Fortune. Cancer cells mutate and spread throughout the body, but the UCL investigators were able to identify a number of these antigens in each cell that remain unchanged.
The scientists studied two lung cancer patients where they found immune cells in the tumors that corresponded with the aforementioned antigens.
This discovery lays the groundwork for developing a more precise treatment method for these diseases.
One scenario The Guardian said could happen is that physicians could extract these markers to develop a vaccine. Injecting them back into a patient’s body in conjunction with using checkpoint inhibitors could make immune cells interpret this infusion as an invasion, therefore launching an attack.
Charles Swanton, one of the authors of the study, told The Guardian this method could be most effective against melanoma and smoking-related lung cancers, which have a high propensity for mutations. The first lung cancer trial could launch in the next two or three years.
The research was published in the journal Science.
Filed Under: Genomics/Proteomics