Go get it

Researchers turn cancer cells into “informant” cells that train the immune system to fight back

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Often, the key to cracking down on the mob is to “turn” one mobster into an informant. That’s the approach researchers took in altering cancer cells so they train the immune system to fight back.

T cells, part of the immune system that learns to identify and attack new pathogens, can be trained to recognize specific cancer antigens — proteins that generate an immune response.

The researchers turned cancer cells into special cells that “inform” on the cancer, telling the T cells: “Here’s what the cancer looks like — go get it.”

“We couldn’t believe it worked as well as it did,” said Ravi Majeti, MD, PhD, a professor of hematology and senior author of a study published in Cancer Discovery in March 2023.

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Christopher Vaughan

Christopher Vaughan is the communications manager for the Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. Email him at vaughan1@stanford.edu.

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