BRITISH cancer specialists have made a breakthrough in their fight against the most deadly childhood cancer.
Cancer Research UK and the University of Southampton have unveiled a therapy for neuroblastoma, an aggressive cancer of the nervous system in infants as young as one year old which can spread to bones, the liver and brain.
It affects 100 children a year in Britain and few survive.
The new treatment “shrank” up to 60 per cent of the tumours treated in laboratory animals and ensured long-term survival by making naturally occurring antibodies home in on the immune system triggering it to work harder.
Our immune system does not attack cancer as fiercely as it does infections and in most cases it does not stop tumours growing.
Cancer, also, has the ability to stop the immune system recognising its anti-cancer cells, called T-cells, but the engineered antibodies were able to “wake up” the T-cells to attack the cancer.
A similar technique is on trial for a range of other cancers including skin, head and neck and pancreatic cancer.
The new treatment ‘shrank’ up to 60 per cent of the tumours treated in laboratory animals
Doctors have long believed in the need to develop drugs against neuroblastoma because, unlike most childhood cancers, it can be very difficult to treat.
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