May 10th, 2012

Mayo Clinic: Exhaustion Renders Immune Cells Less Effective in Cancer Treatment

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Rather than stimulating immune cells to more effectively battle cancerous tumors, treatment with the protein interleukin-12 (IL-12) has the opposite effect, driving these intracellular fighters to exhaustion, a Mayo Clinic study has found. The findings appear in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.The study helps explain the negative results of clinical trials testing the treatment's ability to ramp up the body's natural immune response to destroy cancer cells. The study also demonstrates that the same "T cell exhaustion" that plagues specialized immune cells during chronic viral infections also affects cells fighting long bouts of cancer.

Additional coverage: Medical Xpress

 

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Tags: Cancer, cancerous tumors, immune cells, Immunology, Journal of Clinical Investigation, Research, Science Newsline, T cell exhaustion

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