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Tumor Fighting Immune Cells to Attack Cancer
An extensive study on a group of tumor-forming immune system cells was carried out by the scientists at UCLA’s Jonsson Cancer Center in order to find and demolish dangerous melanomas. According to Dr. Antoni Ribas, senior author of the investigation, the team focused on developing the immune system through genetic engineering to kill cancer cells and represent the function of the immune system at the same moment.

According to the investigation, the full grown melanomas in mice utilize a dormant HIV-like virus that makes T- cell receptor armed lymphocytes the destroyer of cancerous cells. The genetically engineered lymphocytes were marked with a reporter gene inserted into to cells that during PET scanning shine “hot” which help the scientists locate the lymphocytes following their injection into the blood stream, move through the lymph nodes and the lungs, and arrive in on the lumps anywhere they may be situated in the body. Although the group constructed and introduced one million genetically engineered lymphocytes approximately into a mouse however they stated that humans require about one billion tumor-seeking cells to combat cancer. The researchers expect to implement the process on human, within approximately one year.

Usually, the cancerous cells are not recognized as enemies by the immune system. The genetically engineered antigen-specific T cell receptors inserted to look out for a tumor antigen on the melanoma cell surface - effectively uncover the cancerous cells, disclosing them as fatal attackers that must be killed.

Imaging the engineered T cells while they look for and hit the cancer cells, the researchers can closely monitor the progression of the immune system during its fight against malignancies that could then improvise the monitoring process to treat melanoma in patients.
The study showed that within two to three days the cells started fighting against the melanoma following their  injection into the bloodstreams of the mice. The mice were imaged for 10 days at regular intervals to ensure that the cancerous cells were indeed killed by the lymphocytes. However, the process of killing the malignant cells might take more number of days in human system.

If following insertion of genetically engineered T cells, a patient's tumor fails to react well, researchers could verify by PET scanning if the cells did successfully reach the tumor site and also even if they did, whether they performed as was anticipated. A proper observation of the immune response also present evidences on methods of improved engineering of the lymphocytes to make them more effective in seeking out and attacking the tumors.
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