The puzzling case of cancer cells under an "invisibility cloak," which allows them to stay in the body undetected by the immune system, has been explained by a new research.
The researchers from the University of British Columbia (UBC) said that the problem has something to do with the end of cancer cells' protein-making ability.
The findings of the study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, also hint at a possible solution to halt the spread of seemingly invisible malignant cancers, which happens without the knowledge of the body's immune system.
According to UBC researchers, some cancers, especially metastatic tumors, have a tendency to hide. More studies on that front could help in crafting appropriate approaches in tackling the severity of the disease.
"The immune system is efficient at identifying and halting the emergence and spread of primary tumors but when metastatic tumors appear, the immune system is no longer able to recognize the cancer cells and stop them," said Wilfred Jefferies, senior author of the study and professor of Medical Genetics and Microbiology and Immunology at UBC.
The researchers said cancer cells normally evolve with the ability to create a protein known as interleukein-33, or IL-33.
Issue Of Protein
When the secretion of IL-33 stops, the immune system fails to recognize the presence of cancer cells. Such a situation allows for the faster spread of tumors, described as metastasizing.
The researchers discovered that the loss of IL-33 happens in epithelial carcinomas, indicating cancers that start showing up on the surface tissues that line organs such as kidney, breast, uterine, cervical, prostate, lung, pancreatic and skin areas.
The research sounded positive that the IL-33 linked surge in tumors can be reversed. Refilling IL-33 can be one of the options to revive the system's ability to recognize tumors. However, more research is required to confirm how far this will work in humans.
It cited a specific study on prostate cancer will be mounted for that purpose. Calling IL-33 as a possible first immune biomarker for prostate cancer, Iryna Saranchova, the first author of the study said they are planning to conduct the experiment on a larger sample.
The researchers exuded confidence that their steps can reverse the situation, so that tumors could be revealed to the immune system.
The study also said patients with prostate or renal cancers are showing a higher probability of disease recurrence in a five-year period if the cases are accompanied by loss of IL-33.
Meanwhile, cancer therapy is moving into new frontiers. According to a study, ultraviolet rays could soon replace chemotherapy, reports Tech Times.