Researchers have engineered immune cells that can switch on when it is exposed to blue light and have used them to destroy skin tumors in mice that reduced tumor size eight and nine times without harming.

(Photo : Screenshot from Britannica Official Website)

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It uses the patient's T-Cells

Bioengineers at the University of California have developed the Light Control System or LCS, and it is an assuring discovery in a cancer treatment known as the Chimeric Antigen Receptor or CAR T-cell therapy. This therapy involves adapting a patient's own T cells, which is a type of white blood cell that plays an important role in the immune system, and that is to treat their cancer.

The T cells are then to be collected from the patient and will be genetically engineered to express special receptors on their surface that can and will recognize the foreign substances or antigens produced by tumor cells. These engineered T cells are then infused back into the patient, and there, they will find and attack the targeted antigens.

It does not work on solid tumors

Even though this method has been successful at treating some various types of blood cancer and lymphoma, it does not seem to work so well on solid tumors. This is because the healthy cells can also express antigens similar to those of cancer.

Dr. Peter Yingxiao Wang stated, "It is very difficult to identify an ideal antigen for solid tumors with high specificity so that CAR T cells only target these diseased tumor sites without attacking normal organs and tissues, thus, there is a great need to engineer CAR T cells that can be controlled with high precision in space and time." So, to achieve this, him and his colleagues have now created a 'switch' placed inside the engineered T cells that can only turn on when it is exposed to one-second pluses of blue LED light which is then shining on the location of the tumor that causes proteins inside the T cell to bind together, that can bring about this very special cancer-fighting receptor.

Using this new technique, these researchers are then able to reduce the tumor size but eight and nine times without doing any harm to anything. They also plan to test this new therapy on patients with melanoma in the future.

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It is very delightful to see that some researchers and scientists are having good progress with regards to treating cancer diseases with these new methods and techniques that they have been developing all over the world with different teams that are also determined in dealing with these types of life-threatening conditions that people can experience. Hope is also passed on with these new developments, healing the world's worst diseases one day at a time.

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