Here, Dr Sean Lawler investigates if immunotherapy can be used to treat brain cancers – with expert insight on the role of T cells
Currently, the progress and innovation of COVID-19 vaccines has created a groundswell of optimism against other diseases and viruses, with experts pointing to what can be done with the right combination of funding, shared expertise and global urgency.
The sense of hope that comes with seeing a cure to a relatively new virus also brings a sense of prophetic knowledge – healthcare outcomes can be changed in our lifetime.
For decades, cancer has been the irrefutable end, a leading cause of death globally.
When it comes to cancer, most immunotherapies are focused on activating T cells. These cells recognise and specifically kill targeted cells, making them invaluable to the immune system of the human body. Currently, experts are focusing on their potential in the development process for HIV vaccines.
With brain cancer, there are a raft of complications and fears involved with treatment. In some tumor types like glioblastoma and other brain cancers, response to immunotherapy is rare – which leaves those individuals facing a lower chance of survival and recovery. So, what is the next step when it comes to treatment?
Scientists are still forming their understandings of how the brain works in relation to the immune system. Now, there is hope that glioblastoma cellular network can be conceptually dissected and destroyed. Strangely, 30% of cells in that tumor are immune cells – placing the immune system and any chemical helpers at a disadvantage, as they face what Dr Lawler describes as a “fake news network.”
The question now is, how can this fake news network be infiltrated and disarmed?
To find out the latest scientific knowledge behind fighting one of the world’s most complex and deadly cancers, read more here.
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