Researchers say they have discovered a “kill switch” that causes cancer cells to die.
Scientists at the University of California Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center in Sacramento, Calif., have “programmed” cancer cells to die, as detailed in a study published last month in the journal Cell Death & Differentiation. “We identified a protein on the CD95 receptor that can do this.
Receptors are proteins in cells that receive and send signals.
The CD95 receptor (also known as Fas) is nicknamed the “death receptor” because it sends a signal that causes cancer cells to “self-destruct,” according to a press release from the University of California, Davis.
“Previous efforts to target this receptor have failed. However, now that we have identified this epitope (target), we may be able to open the door to treatments that target Fas in tumors.” Jogender Tushir-Singh, associate professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology and senior author of the study, said: said in a release.
Experts say future cancer drugs could increase the activity of these CD95 receptors, creating a new weapon against cancer tumors that have historically been treated with surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Are expected.
Immune-based therapies, such as CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) T-cell therapy, have shown promise in some patients but have limited efficacy against many types of cancer. Masu.
“While we have had some success in liquid tumors such as leukemia spectrum cancers, long-term remission remains the biggest challenge for CAR T cell therapy,” Tushir Singh told FOX News Digital via email. Ta.
A bigger challenge with this treatment, which typically costs more than $500,000, is that it has shown only “modest success” in treating solid tumors, the researchers noted.
“Our study provides a powerful overarching takeaway and potential solutions to potentially transform modest successes in CAR-T therapy into successes.” [therapies for] It is a solid tumor. ”
A newly discovered “kill switch” may be able to stop tumor cells and at the same time increase the effectiveness of immunotherapy, “a potential one-two punch against tumors,” the release said. It is stated in.
So far, no drugs that enhance CD95 have reached clinical trials.
“Despite many breakthroughs in the field of cancer immunotherapy, therapies targeting Fas remain neglected, primarily due to fear of retaliation against immune system T cells.” Tushir Singh told FOX News Digital.
The study had some limitations — namely, limited data from clinical trials, the researchers noted.
However, Tushir-Singh noted that cancer researchers can now retrospectively collect human tumor samples from clinical trials and conduct new analyzes in light of these findings.
“It is clear that the success of CAR-T therapy relies on off-target killing by FAS,” he told FOX News Digital.
“Based on current information, we researchers and physicians should screen cancer patients who may receive CAR-T therapy to confirm the comprehensive presence of Fas on tumors.” he continued.
“If a patient’s tumors lack Fas expression, we need to find ways to safely manipulate these tumors and initiate Fasylation before undertaking expensive CAR therapy. may be more effective.”
Looking to the future, Tushir Singh said he is hopeful about the future of cancer treatment.
“With the advent of cancer immunotherapy and other targeted therapies, overall cancer incidence has decreased significantly over the past few decades,” he said.
“Every day I read about the great research being done in the United States to beat cancer. People should stay positive.”
Mr. Tushir-Singh added: “The next breakthrough is just one experiment away from her.”