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  1. #1
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    Default Going further in cancer research/treatment?

    Something I wandered across.

    Cancer 'danger receptor' found

    A "danger receptor" that may kick-start an immune reaction to cancer in the body has been found by UK researchers.

    It picks up signs of cell death caused by injury or tumours and mobilises the body's defences, Nature reports.

    The finding may explain why some tumour-killing drugs partly work by setting off an immune response.

    Better understanding of the receptor could help develop cancer treatments that harness the immune system, the London Research Institute team said.

    Cell death is a normal process in the body which keeps growth and repair ticking over and keeps tissue healthy.

    But sometimes there is an abnormal type of cell death called necrosis.

    It has been thought for many years that the body somehow senses this abnormal cell death and sets off an immune reaction.

    From an evolutionary point of view this would make sense as injury puts the body at risk of infection and an immune response would be a sensible precaution.

    However, until now no receptor capable of detecting this abnormal cell death had been found.

    The researchers discovered that the DNGR-1 receptor on a type of immune cell called a dendritic cell mobilises an immune response after coming across this abnormal cell death.

    Dendritic cells act as messengers, alerting other types of immune cells to kill invaders, such as viruses and bacteria.

    Trigger

    The researchers said tumours could also trigger this type of immune reaction because they often contain clusters of cells undergoing this type of cell death as they have a limited blood supply.

    Dr Caetano Reis e Sousa, lead author based at Cancer Research UK's London Research Institute, said: "After a 15-year hunt, we've identified the first 'danger receptor' - one which senses abnormal cell death and then triggers an immune response.

    "The detection of 'danger' could explain some situations when a tumour triggers an immune reaction against itself."

    He said manipulating this system could be beneficial in treating cancer but also in other areas, such as preventing rejection in organ transplantation.

    "There is a theory that some cancer-killing drugs kill tumour cells in such a way that triggers the immune system against them so they have a double whammy."

    Dr Lesley Walker, director of information at Cancer Research UK, said: "The concept of using the body's immune system to fight cancer has been around for decades, but advances in recent years have made this field of research a very exciting one.

    "The results of this study are really important scientifically and a step towards understanding how to manipulate the immune system to treat cancer in the future."
    BBC NEWS | Health | Cancer 'danger receptor' found

  2. #2
    Senior Member Anja's Avatar
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    I'm slipping a little off topic here but just heard something on the radio. Announcing a new cancer detector which "can do something which humans can not." It can "smell" people who have cancer. And I just laughed and shook my head.

    My cousin was an old-time country doctor and it was well known that he could walk into a patient's room and diagnosis by the smell in the room. Anyone who has ever had a relative dying from cancer will recognize the smell.

    I am able to detect schizophrenia on some people by their smell. And I'd expect that there are a number of medical conditions which have their individual body smell for those who are accustomed to recognizing it.

    And, once again science "discovers" something which natural healers have known for millenia.

    The benefit, as I would imagine is that the machine can detect it earlier than a human can. So science and nature, when they work together, are a bonus. When they are adversarial, not so.

    Interesting news, sade. Certainly every step forward is hopeful. It will be good when people begin to put the most energy into prevention.
    "No ray of sunshine is ever lost, but the green which it awakes into existence needs time to sprout, and it is not always granted to the sower to see the harvest. All work that is worth anything is done in faith." - Albert Schweitzer

  3. #3
    now! in shell form INA's Avatar
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    I read a somewhat similar article just the other day in the American Scientist.

    Link - Healing Heat: Harnessing Infection to Fight Cancer

    Conventional wisdom long held that the human immune system was no match for cancer. Born of native cells, the logic went, cancer fooled the immune system into concluding it was harmless. Thus protected from attack, cancer easily thrived until its host died.

    A deeper understanding of our biological defenses has changed that. The human immune system does battle cancer. But we could better optimize our defenses to fend off malignant disease. That’s clear from cancer treatments attempted in New York City and Germany as early as the 19th century. Those experiments and other undervalued evidence from the medical literature suggest that acute infection—in contrast to chronic infection, which sometimes causes cancer—can help a body fight tumors.

    It’s not the pathogens that do the good work. But the way our bodies respond to the pathogens is key. Infection events, especially those that produce fever, appear to shift the innate human immune system into higher gear. That ultimately improves the performance of crucial biological machinery in the adaptive immune system. This lesson comes, partly, from doctors who risked making patients sicker to try to make them better.
    hoarding time and space
    A single event can awaken within us a stranger totally unknown to us. To live is to be slowly born.
    — Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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    Senior Member Anja's Avatar
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    Interesting comments, Ina. Sounds like you've done some studying in this area.

    There is a similar concept in mental health.
    "No ray of sunshine is ever lost, but the green which it awakes into existence needs time to sprout, and it is not always granted to the sower to see the harvest. All work that is worth anything is done in faith." - Albert Schweitzer

  5. #5
    now! in shell form INA's Avatar
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    Not really. It's one of the recent news items on a site I read sometimes: Arts & Letters Daily - ideas, criticism, debate
    (first column, fifth down).

    I'm interested in the concept's application in mental health.
    hoarding time and space
    A single event can awaken within us a stranger totally unknown to us. To live is to be slowly born.
    — Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by InaF3157 View Post
    It’s not the pathogens that do the good work. But the way our bodies respond to the pathogens is key. Infection events, especially those that produce fever, appear to shift the innate human immune system into higher gear. That ultimately improves the performance of crucial biological machinery in the adaptive immune system. This lesson comes, partly, from doctors who risked making patients sicker to try to make them better.
    The principles behind homeopathy. Curing like with like.

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