New avenues are opening for immunotherapy therapies. All that progress linked to cancer, a disease that currently kills more than ten million people – according to 2020 figures from the United Nations Organization (UN) – every year in the world, arouses great interest, and the discovery of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies it couldn’t be less.
The research team of this scientific laboratory located in La Jolla, in the state of California, in the western United States, has shown in their preliminary tests how tumors cause immune cells to lose their ability to fight cancer.
The issue is that this type of cells, hungry and eager for energy, end up ingesting the harmful fats produced by tumors, which means that their functionality is severely affected.
This discovery, being novel, opens previously unknown avenues for the development of immunotherapies for cancer.
The Salk Institute study has been published in the Immunity scientific journal.
How cancer uses “bad fat”
The study focused on the analysis of the bad fat (LDL) existing in large quantities in tumors.
Confirming this excess of lipids and oxidized lipids, the next step, which is the vital discovery, was to observe and understand how the killer T cells of our body respond to the LDL of tumors by ingesting a large amount of these oxidized lipids, which causes that the T’s are affected.
This fact promotes that «when T cells are stressed by oxidized lipids, they shut down their antitumor functions«, Thus preventing a proper functioning of the immune system.
Bottom line: By ingesting those oxidized fats,killer T cells of the patient “suppress their ability to kill cancer cells.”
This finding, by knowing better how the Cancer in the body of the patient, it allows researchers to initiate the development of new treatment routes that increase the capacity of the patient’s immune system to fight cancer.
This would take place reducing oxidative damage to lipids in killer T cells since in this way it would be possible to soften the hostile microenvironment generated by the tumor, allowing an improved immunotherapy.
A new avenue of research to end some of the most harmful diseases in our current society.
What is immunometabolism
immunometabolism In all this theoretical development, the science known as cancer immunometabolism takes on a radical importance.
It is a field still in an initial state and that must be developed in a powerful way to achieve real results, but currently it already offers some solutions and research avenues such as that established by the Salk Institute of the United States to stop and end the advance of cancer.
This immunometabolism is responsible for studying the way in which the metabolism of immune cells “is reprogrammed within tumors and is driven by alterations in the availability of nutrients.”
It will help to understand the logical way in which one and the other are related within the patient’s body.
A new course of action, which after all is the most important thing, to try to develop therapies and treatment that help to end one of the great blights of society.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.