Scientists study new way to ‘destroy’ cancer
A study carried out by scientists at the University of California at Davis (UCD) and Indiana University, in the United States, describes that it may be possible to develop a treatment for health problems involving cancerous tumors. The study was published in the scientific journal Cell Death & Differentiation and could help in the development of procedures that will help people with cancer around the world.
According to the research, scientists managed to close the ‘gates’ of the Fas receptor, also known as CD95 and nicknamed the ‘death receptor‘. They claim that they found an epitope of the CD95 receptor capable of ‘instructing‘ cells to self-destruct, in this case, cancer cells that give rise to different types of the disease.
It has been a long time since other scientists discovered that Fas is one of the keys to killing cells. However, the new study should aid in further research into how to use it against cancer cells. Until then, CD95 was considered ‘ineffective‘ in cancer immunotherapy, but it could be a new answer for a genuine and effective treatment to combat the disease.
“Previous efforts to target this receptor have been unsuccessful. But now that we have identified this epitope, there may be a therapeutic avenue to target Fas in tumors. These are often called cold tumors because immune cells simply cannot penetrate the microenvironments to provide a therapeutic effect,” said immunologist and senior study author Jog ender Tushir-Singh.
Against cancer cells
An epitope is like a signal on the surface of a molecule and is commonly part of a protein. The human body’s immune system is capable of identifying it using B or T cell receptor antibodies. When interacting with the correct epitope, cells function as a ‘time bomb‘, activating the body’s proteins. In this case, the epitope on Fas can lead to cell death. If everything goes as expected, this action could lead to programmed cell death and help fight cancer.
One of the possible treatments is based on CAR T cells. In which scientists edit T cells and place a specific antibody to attack cancer cells . It’s no wonder that many scientists believe this is a promising technique in some types of cancer, such as leukemia.