In a new study conducted by the Yale Cancer Center, the researchers have found that stem-like T cells in certain lymph nodes may be natural cancer fighters. The findings have been reported online in the journal Scientific immunochemistry. The analysis of immune cells isolated from lung cancer patients confirmed that the stem-like T cells are in lymph nodes near the lung. The researchers are aimed at developing therapies that can activate stem-like T cells in nearby lymph nodes and bring them together to help fight against lung cancer.
In this study, the researchers have developed a new animal model where they look at stem-like T cells in tumors over the course of various months of tumor growth and find out how the stem-like T cells survive. They discovered that the stem-like T cells do not persist in tumor for long. The nearby lymph nodes were replenishing the supply. Also, few stem-like T cells leave the lymph node and travel towards the tumor. This is essential for controlling the growth of cancer.
Nikhil Joshi, PhD, Assistant Professor of Immunobiology, a member of the Center of Immuno-Oncology at Yale Cancer Center, and senior author of the study said, “Therapies that use the immune system to destroy cancer have been a game-changer for patients with lung and other cancers.” “But not all people respond to immunotherapy drugs, so it was important for us to discover the role of these special T cells in tumour growth,” he added.
The researchers plan to continue this research and focus on improving therapeutic responses to help lung cancer patients. The funding for the study was supported by the American Lung Association, the Lung Cancer Research Foundation, the National Cancer Institute and the Yale SPORE in lung cancer.
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