New target for anti-cancer treatment

Cancer Research journal has published research work by specialists from the Centro de Investigacion Medica Aplicada (CIMA) and the University Hospital of Navarra, and which has identified a new target in blood cells for treating cancer.

This finding is a complex which Dr. Ignacio Melero, Director of the Immunology Laboratory at CIMA and specialist at the University Hospital's Oncology Department draws a comparison with "a key to opening the doors of the tumours of the immune system".

He explained that they had discovered a "new triggering mechanism for antibodies, aimed at receptor CD137 the activity of which has hitherto only been known in relation with the activation of the cells of the immune system itself. It was observed that the blood vessels of the tumour also have this receptor, unlike the blood vessels in the rest of the organism. This is as a consequence of hypoxia (the low concentration of oxygen) in the tumour tissues".

Dr. Ignacio Melero highlighted the fact that the activation of receptor CD137 in the capillaries triggers a series of mechanisms that favour the entrance of cell effectors (that execute the response) of the immune system with the capacity of destroying the tumour. "Thereby, the stimulation of this receptor on the one hand amplifies the immune response and, on the other, facilitates the entrance of lymphocytes with their tumoricidal capacity " - opening the doors" of the malignant tissue".

Source: Elhuyar Fundazioa