(Image Credit: Israel 21st Century)
Israeli researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science may have discovered a key component that may enable them to kill leukemia cancer cells in the human body.
(Israel 21st Century) In previous research, Shachar had found that a specific receptor - a protein on the outer surface of healthy B cells - fulfills a crucial role in helping these cells to survive. She wondered if the same protein might also be a central player in the abnormally high survival rates of cancerous B cells. [...]
The scientists found that this protein, in binding to the receptor, initiates a series of events within the cell that leads to enhanced cell survival capabilities. For instance, in one of these events, a substance is produced that helps to regulate the cells' lifespan. This substance causes another protein to be produced, which then prevents the self-destruct program from being activated.
The team treated the chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells with an antibody that attached to the survival receptor, blocking its activity and causing the cancer cell death rate to soar.
This is great news for leukemia victims, who now have another weapon in their fight against this deadly disease. This new technique is currently entering clinical trials (so it is not yet on the market) although hopefully they will perfect this antibody as it could potentially save tens of thousands of lives in the near future.