Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Fusion Power

Antibodies against a brain tumour marker can deliver immune chemicals that promote killing of the cancer cells

28 November 2020

Fusion Power

Modern medicine so often uses treatments like drugs and surgery to great effect that we can forget our bodies have expansive defence mechanisms of their own. And when those usual external approaches don’t work, such as in patients with glioblastoma – a potentially lethal and very hard-to-treat brain tumour (pictured) – researchers consider ways of bolstering the body’s in-built systems. A new study has created a fusion of two immune system components, antibodies – the soldiers that tackle unwanted invaders – and cytokines, messenger molecules that typically ring the alarm. Combining these two into a powerful partnership proved more effective than either alone. The team-up targeted a telltale marker (highlighted here in green) of glioblastoma and in experiments with mice caused tumours to slow their growth or even shrink back. If the same applies in humans, this could one day help patients overcome their tumours with tools they had inside them all along.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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