New Breakthrough in Bowel Cancer Treatment: Scientists Discover How Cancer Blinds the Immune System

2023-06-21 09:00:00

12:00 PM Wednesday, June 21, 2023

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Scientists hope to discover a new way to treat bowel cancer after their research solved a decades-old mystery about why patients’ immune systems ignore the disease.

And the British news agency “BA Media” reported that researchers from the University of Glasgow and the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research in the United Kingdom have discovered how bowel cancer blinds the immune system so that it cannot see the cancer and makes it unable to destroy it.

“Usually, immune cells keep things in order, watching the gut like security guards, fending off any harmful bacteria and keeping the gut healthy,” said Dr. Seth Coffelt, who led the research.

“However, when cells in the intestine become cancerous, they eliminate these ‘security guards’, all the ways these immune cells communicate with each other to orchestrate the immune response,” Coffelt added.

“Cancer does not want immune cells to recognize it as a threat, so it manipulates immune cells so that they don’t see the threat,” he said.

The scientists said that this discovery, which was reported in Cancer Immunology Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, opens the door to reversing or blocking this process, allowing the immune system to see bowel cancer cells and stop them from growing and multiplying.

Bowel cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in the UK, with around 16,800 deaths reported in the country each year, an average of 46 deaths per day.

In Scotland, around 4,000 patients are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year.

Researchers said discovering how cancer can trick the immune system offers the potential for new therapies that could reactivate these immune cells.

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