Gene-deficient bone marrow cells induce cancer tumour regression; slows tumour growth

March 13, 2020

An immunotherapy approach known as adoptive cell therapy, in which altered versions of a patient’s own cells are used to trigger a more heightened immune response to cancer, has been observed to slow the growth of prostate and pancreatic cancers in mice. Scientists at Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center in Baltimore, US, recently demonstrated the process in their long search of a promising form of cancer therapy.

The team worked with what are known as immature myeloid cells, a type of white blood cell, which previous research indicated could help fight tumours by “switching on” immune responses. These immature myeloid cells were taken from the bone marrow of mice engineered to lack aparticular gene, p50, and of mice with the gene. The two groups of mice were inoculated with human prostate and pancreatic cancer cells, and pre-treated with a common cancer drug called 5-fluorouracil.

“Striking” results were seen in the p50-deficient mice as the tumours grew at least three times more slowly in a majority (93%) of pancreatic cancers. In addition, p50-deficient myeloid cells combined with the cancer treatment induced an up to tenfold reduction in tumour size among mice with pancreatic cancer.

According to paediatric oncologist Alan Friedman, “Seven different cancers – prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, brain cancer, melanoma, colon cancer, sarcoma and neuroblastoma – tested by us grew slower in mice lacking p50.”

The findings further strengthen the idea that p50-deficient myeloid cells could benefit a range of cancer treatments by stirring the body’s immune system into action.

Category: Education, Features

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