Having discovered a way to overcome the barrier to the “core” of a cancer tumor, specialists will launch a “time bomb” into it to destroy the tumor that has become vulnerable.
Results of a study by scientists from the University of California at Davis and Indiana University published in Cell Death & Differentiation. In a large-scale study, researchers studied ways to target the cells lining tumor-associated blood vessels. tells Science Alert. These vessels control access to tumor tissue, and unless they are open, immune cells cannot enter the healthy tumor to fight it. The FAS receptor (CD95), when activated by the right antibody, triggers programmed cell death and acts as a “time bomb.”
According to the researchers, the role of FAS “in cancer immunotherapy is underestimated”: to date, not a single Fas antibody has passed clinical trials. However, during laboratory experiments on mice and human cells, scientists were able to identify specific antibodies that cause cell self-destruction when attached to Fas receptors. The study’s lead author, immunologist Jogendera Tushir-Singh, explains:
“Previous attempts to target this receptor have been unsuccessful. But now that we have identified this epitope (a specific part of the death receptor), we can anticipate therapeutic success in targeting Fas in tumors.”
According to the researchers, the antibody that binds to the epitope actually becomes a cell death switch. Once it can be turned on, other cancer treatments become more effective, particularly CAR-T therapy, which works by programming a person’s own white blood cells to bind to and attack specific types of cancer cells. Drugs gain access to more targets, which are often clustered together and hidden within the tumor.
In their research, the scientists developed two engineered antibodies that they attached to Fas receptors. They were very effective at causing companion cells to self-destruct and were able to kill ovarian cancer and other tumor cell lines developed in the laboratory.