Scientists find Powerhouses that fight Tumours from within


In recent years, doctors have turned to a new treatment for cancer, immunotherapy, which works by leveraging the body's immune system to fight tumours.

The technique has largely focused on white blood cells called T-cells, which are "trained" to recognise and attack cancer cells.

But the innovative treatment only works well for around 20% of patients, and researchers have been trying to understand why some people respond better than others.

Three papers published on Thursday in the journal Nature point the way, identifying a key formation inside some tumours: tertiary lymphoid structures (TLS).

These structures function like "factories or schools" for immune cells that help the body fight cancer, said Wolf H. Fridman, a professor emeritus of immunology at the Cordeliers Research Centre of the Paris Descartes University medical school, who helped lead one of the studies.

"The cells need to be educated in schools, which are the tertiary lymphoid structures," where they effectively learn to recognise and attack cancer cells, Fridman told AFP.

No longer 'innocent bystanders'

Key to the findings is that T-cells are far from the only immune cells capable of taking the fight to cancer, with researchers finding the TLS were full of B-cells, a kind of immune cell that produces antibodies.

The purpose of this Research Topic is therefore to provide an up-to-date overview of cell interaction studies.

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