Immunology to Fight Cancers?

Jeff Orzeck orzeck at
Fri Jan 12 13:03:15 EST 1996

BPH wrote:
> Would you like to share about how is the progress and what are the
> problems? And whether some articles from your research have been
> published?
> According to my opinion, -as a non-researcher-, the primary cancer
> cells can survive from immunology reaction of the body because they
> grow very slowly at the beginning, allowing them not to trigger the
> immune system at the alarming state, and most probably they develop
> something to cover up their membrane cells to the immune system
> recognition. But I believe all cancer cells can be recognised as alien
> cells if they are exposed to the body in quite a big quantity and
> uncovered. I think it may be good to 'wash' the cells carefully and to
> kill the cells without destructing them before preparation.
> I believe you also have thought about it and have done it. What I want
> to know is your comments.
> Bayu P. Hie, MD

No, no, no. When researchers tell you what has been done, do not let
opinion sway you. 
  Fact is, cancerous cells can grow at any rate - BLASTing cells are those 
cells growing very quickly. Often, the initial cancerous cells grow at 
fairly normal rates. But, cancer is a multistep disease, and the cells 
change continuously over time.
  The problem is that the body CANNOT respond to cancerous cells that are 
going through a slow transformation process. The body sees these cells as 
"self", because they are. No matter how many of these cells exist, they 
are essentially still "self", and unlikely to promote any immune response.
  As cells get more tumorigenic, they may eventually express molecules 
that could trigger responses, but most cancers are able to counter this by 
downregulating other molecules involved in effecting the immune response. 
The problem is not in "washing" the cells, but in getting them to 
re-express sufficient levels of molecules (such as MHC I&II, B7 family, 
CD40,....) to initiate and effect an immune response.

  Some groups have done this by taking tumor cells and transfecting them 
with various cDNAs encoding molecules such as B7-1&2&3, CD40, MHC I&II, 
IL12, IL4,
GM-CSF, etc.... and then reintroducing them into the original tumor host.
And, these techniques DO work in mouse systems. That is, mice are able to 
fight off tumorigenic cells when first given a dose of the altered tumor 
For more detail into these studies, you must read journals such as 
"Current Opinions in Immunology", "Immunology Today", or any good cancer 
review paper.
Or...sit in on a university level introductory cancer course!!! (Best bet 
if you dislike reading like I do)
Without taking the time to study the field, you will not be able to grasp 
the actual problems and solutions at hand.
And giving you an answer in less than 10 pages of writing (assuming you 
have a biology background to begin with), is virtually IMPOSSIBLE!!

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