April 2023 Notable News
April highlights that studying how cancer cells work helps fight cancer itself. Learning about what causes T-cell exhaustion helps scientists improve CAR T-cell therapies for cancer patients. A study done in the United Kingdom revealed cancer’s infinite ability to evolve and spread, emphasizing the importance of prevention and early detection. In another new study, scientists have learned how cancer cells metastasize. This new knowledge can open the door for better cancer drug testing and cancer treatments.
Helping Cancer-Fighting Cells Not Run Out of Steam
CAR T cell therapy uses the patient’s own T cells, modifies them, and then uses them to kill tumors. These cells get “T cell exhaustion”, causing them to be less effective. In a study published March 20th in Molecular Cell, the scientists report they have elucidated the commanding role of a specialized group of proteins in the nuclei of our cells. These proteins, called mSWI/SNF (or BAF) complexes have important functions- to both activate T cells and trigger their exhaustion, reports Harvard. Scientists found that targeting these complexes with gene-cutting technology or small molecular drugs, can help with the T cell exhaustion. Scientists have found a way to not only reverse the T cell exhaustion, but also to make the T cells more active. Trials using these compounds have moved from animal to human trials, after results showed tumor growth was reduced. Click to read the full story .
Study Reveals Cancers ‘Infinite’ Ability to Evolve
An unprecedented analysis of how cancers grow has revealed an almost infinite ability of tumors to evolve and survive, reports BBC News. Researchers tracked lung cancers over nine years in a study called Tracer X. This study used the biopsies from 400 lung cancer patients at 13 different hospitals in the United Kingdom. Tracer X showed how cancers evolve and what makes them spread. A tumor is one single cell to start but then becomes a mixture of millions of mutated cells, this makes finding a cure for cancer complicated. This study emphasizes that because of the diversity of cells in a tumor, it is important to focus on prevention and early detection. Obesity, smoking, alcohol consumption, poor diet, and inflammation in the body caused by air pollution or inflammatory bowel disease are all preventable risk factors. Cancer was found to evolve as it grows, this fact makes it harder to treat in later stages. Early detection is key to better patient outcomes. Click to read the full story .
How Cancer Cells Muscle Their Way into Organs
The study, published in Advanced Science, found that the more porous and the softer the tissue, the more likely cancer cells were to force their way in and were able to do so more quickly, providing valuable data for research seeking to prevent or halt cancer metastasis, which is the leading cause of cancer mortality, reports Medical Xpress. Solid cancers start in one place, the primary site. Cancer cells come from the primary site and go to other parts of the body to form tumors, this is called metastasis. When cancer cells get out of the circulatory system and go into other tissues it is called extravasation. Doctors can treat metastasized cancer but cannot cure it, and this is why there is a higher incidence of death from metastasized cancer. Scientists have made discoveries by introducing tumor cells into endothelium, through in vitro models. They have now learned how cancer cells penetrate the endothelium. The findings of how this works will allow for further and more precise models to be created to allow for drug testing. Click to read the full story.
Dana Kaiser is a professional writer and a strong patient advocate, learning from experience during her 22-year career as a nurse.