British scientists have accidentally discovered a new type of cell that kills most cancers. The new discovery could be a huge breakthrough in the search for a universal cure for cancer, writes British newspaper The Telegraph.
A new type of immune cell which kills most cancers has been discovered by accident by British scientists, in a finding which could herald a major breakthrough in treatment.
Researchers at Cardiff University were analysing blood from a bank in Wales, looking for immune cells that could fight bacteria, when they found an entirely new type of T-cell.
That new immune cell carries a never-before-seen receptor which acts like a grappling hook, latching on to most human cancers, while ignoring healthy cells.
In laboratory studies, immune cells equipped with the new receptor were shown to kill lung, skin, blood, colon, breast, bone, prostate, ovarian, kidney and cervical cancer.
Cardiff University researchers analyzed a blood bank trying to find white blood cells in it. Instead, they discovered a whole new kind of T-cell, which carries a never-before-seen receptor which acts like a grappling hook, latching on to most human cancers, while ignoring healthy cells, The Telegraph reports.
In laboratory conditions, immune cells equipped with the new receptor, have been able to kill cancer cells from multiple organs, including lungs, blood, bones, and kidneys.
According to Professor Andrew Sewell, head of the study, and cell type expert at Cardiff Medical University, this finding could be used for the creation of an universal cure for many cancers.
“This is a very motivating find; no one knew that such cells exist at all,” he told the newspaper.
“There’s a chance here to treat every patient,” researcher Prof Andrew Sewell told the BBC.
He added: “Previously nobody believed this could be possible.
“Cancer-targeting via MR1-restricted T-cells is an exciting new frontier – it raises the prospect of a ‘one-size-fits-all’ cancer treatment; a single type of T-cell that could be capable of destroying many different types of cancers across the population.”
Therapies that create specific white blood cells or other immune cells to fight cancer exist, but have never been used for anything other than medicine for some types of leukemia. They also do not work against the larger tumors that most cancers cause.
Not only can the new cell treat different types of cancer in the future, but it can also be transmitted via the bloodstream, which means it can easily be spread as a mass medicine.