QIMR Berghofer researchers have discovered a potential new cancer immunotherapy target that involves switching off a regulatory cell to stop tumours growing and spreading.
The study findings have been published today in Cancer Discovery, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.
Senior researcher and head of QIMR Berghofer’s Cancer Immunoregulation and Immunotherapy Laboratory, Associate Professor Michele Teng, said in future the discovery could potentially help treat patients with cancers where other current immunotherapies have not worked.
“Our work on mice shows for the first time that many tumours display the molecule MR1 on their cell surface, and when it’s present, this molecule turns on an important regulatory cell that prevents the body’s own immune system from fighting the cancer,” Associate Professor Teng said.
“We found if a type of regulatory cell called MAIT (mucosal-associated invariant T) cells are turned on, they stop immune or white blood cells known as T and NK cells from attacking and killing off tumour cells.
“The cancer is effectively creating its own defence mechanism to evade immune attack and survive. The display of MR1 activates the MAIT cells, which in turn switch off cancer-fighting T and NK cells.
“While other regulatory cells of the immune system are known to stop T and NK cells from killing tumour cells, this is the first time it’s been shown that these regulatory MAIT cells can do this job.”
Associate Professor Teng said her team found that by giving mice an antibody that blocked MR1, this stopped the MAIT cells from becoming activated, and the T and NK cells could respond, slowing cancer growth and stopping it spreading.
“This work demonstrates that antibodies that block MR1 could in future be an effective new immunotherapy,” Associate Professor Teng said.
“It probably won’t work on every cancer, but it looks like it could be effective in treating cancers that can display the MR1 molecule. It also means this display of MR1 could be used to screen which patients would respond to this immunotherapy.
“We now need to replicate this research in humans.”
Associate Professor Teng said while the research was at a very early stage and required more work, it was promising.
“The next step is to try to understand what kind of human tumours display MR1 as a protective mechanism, which would then help us identify which tumours would respond best to MR1-blocking immunotherapy,” she said.
“Immunotherapies have been effectively used to treat more than 15 different cancer types but the proportion of patients that respond for each cancer can differ.
“In patients with advanced melanoma for example, current approved immunotherapies work in about 50 per cent of cases, but half do not respond, and that’s why we need to find new therapies.”
Learn more: POTENTIAL NEW CANCER TREATMENT A STEP CLOSER
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- Scientists turn the tables on cancer with new immunotherapy targeton May 10, 2020 at 5:19 pm
One of the best weapons against cancer might have been inside us all along – our own immune systems. Immunotherapy involves supercharging the immune system to better root out cancer from its hiding ...
- Immunotherapy improves outcome in high-risk, HER2-negative breast canceron May 8, 2020 at 1:07 pm
(Reuters Health) - Adding the immune-checkpoint inhibitor durvalumab and the PARP inhibitor olaparib to standard neoadjuvant chemotherapy may improve outcome in women with high-risk, HER2-negative ...
- Cancer Immunotherapy Market Will Grow At A CAGR of 7.5% During Forecast Period 2018-2027 (Impact Analysis of COVID-19)on May 8, 2020 at 8:57 am
Market Trends in Global Cancer Immunotherapy Market Roche Pharma and India's third-largest drug maker Cipla tied up ...
- Avalon GloboCare Advances Next Generation Cellular Immunotherapy with FLASH-CAR™ Technology for Blood Cancerson May 8, 2020 at 6:12 am
Avalon GloboCare Corp. (NASDAQ: AVCO) is a clinical-stage, vertically-integrated, leading CellTech bio-developer dedicated to advancing and empowering innovative, transformative i ...
- Ibrahim Halil Sahin, MD, on Immunotherapy for HIV Patients With Canceron May 7, 2020 at 1:14 pm
What does the study add to the literature about the role of immunotherapy in cancer patients who are also infected with HIV? Sahin: Our review of the current literature looked at patients living with ...
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- Compugen Reports First Quarter 2020 Resultson May 6, 2020 at 4:32 am
PRNewswire/ -- (NASDAQ: CGEN), a clinical-stage cancer immunotherapy company and a leader in predictive target discovery, today reported financial results for the first ...
- Can This Biotech Shed New Light on Cancer Immunotherapies?on May 4, 2020 at 12:57 pm
Its new discovery in the field of cancer immunotherapy produced mixed clinical results, but it certainly has ample backing from the big players.
- New therapy combination extends survival in some patients with lethal cancerson May 4, 2020 at 7:42 am
A randomized, multicenter study of a combination of immunotherapy with a targeted therapy improved cancer control for some patients with a rare and lethal type of gastrointestinal cancer known as ...
- New Elements for Immunotherapy Drugs May Improve Their Efficacyon May 4, 2020 at 5:17 am
New research has discovered new elements to immunotherapy drugs that target programmed death-ligand 1 on the surface of cancer cells.
- PBRM1 loss defines a nonimmunogenic tumor phenotype associated with checkpoint inhibitor resistance in renal carcinomaon May 1, 2020 at 2:24 am
PBRM1, encoding for a subunit of the SWI/SNF complex, is the second most frequently mutated gene in clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC). Here, the authors show that PBRM1 loss reduces ...