Cancer is one of the leading causes of death at a worldwide scale. This illness affects persons of all ages, and it has various health implications during each stage of its development. Unfortunately, a perfect cure for this medical condition has not yet fully been developed.
Scientists work relentlessly to determine if the medicine of the future will solve cancer as quick as an aspirin dissipates a headache nowadays. While this scenario is highly improbable now, certain medical discoveries like the T-cell immunotherapies are starting to pave the long road to finding the ultimate cancer remedy.
What is the T-cell-based cancer immunotherapy?
T-lymphocyte cell, also known as T-cells, are an important component of our immune system. They also wear the nickname of “killer cells” for their action against potentially tumor cells. Doctors consider t-cells to have a significant role in cancer elimination. Their research spans more than four decades in which they tried to “teach” the T-cells to attack the tumor cells before they are fully developed. Currently, the manipulation of killer cells is not complete, but the researchers are very optimistic that the process will soon reach its final stage.
How does the T-cell immunotherapy work?
There are two ways of using T-cells against cancer cells. The first one uses adoptive cell transfer (ACT) and the second one uses antibodies that have similar properties to T-cells. Since the ACT method is currently the object of advanced research, we will focus on explaining its mechanisms in this article.
The ACT method uses two types of T-cells to fight off tumors:
- Natural, unmodified cells with anticancer properties.
- Genetically processed cells that have been programmed to recognize tumors.
There is an entire medical process that prepares the host body to accept the transfer of T-cells. Firstly, chemical reactions are directly caused to diminish the number of antibodies that might destroy the incoming antitumor cells. Next, the immune system is forced into considering the T-cells as produced internally and encouraged to boost their remedial action through cell multiplication. Therefore, the T-cells act as seeds for future antitumor cells that your body copies and uses to eliminate the cancer-developing cells.
The future of T-cell immunotherapy
Even if the use of T-cells to destroy cancer cells has been partially successful in the past decade, researchers consider this therapy to be still far from completion. They believe that this type of medicine of the future has a lot of potentials that can only be achieved through intense study. Unfortunately, the medical research of T-cell immunotherapy requires particular environmental conditions and substantial funding. Considering the actual state of the world economy and the decreasing sponsorships for scientific studies, many believe that another 20-30 years will pass until this method will become a successful tool against cancer.
It is also worth noting that the adverse side effects of T-cell immunotherapy have not yet been sufficiently studied, and they cannot be entirely anticipated. Just like other trial treatments for cancer have previously generated negative health concerns, the same can happen for this innovational, yet unpredictable remedy.