British scientists at King’s College London believe they have found a way to extract cancer-killing immune cells from donor blood and then multiply them by the millions in a new therapy. It’s being touted as a better treatment for cancer victims and could even serve as a potential cure.
British cancer researchers are calling the early results of lab tests “very promising.”
The therapy involves neutrophil cells, which form part of the body’s first line of defense against foreign invaders, according to a new report in Express. Such cells are believed to be a key reason some fortunate individuals are able to spontaneously and inexplicably shrug off lethal cancers.
The researchers, together with a leading biotech company, are now preparing for early trials on patients.
According to Alex Blyth, chief executive of LIfT Biosciences, “We’re not talking about simply managing cancer. We’re looking at a curative therapy that you would receive once a week over the course of five to six weeks. Based on our laboratory and mouse model experiments we would hope to see patients experiencing complete remission. Our ultimate aim is to create the world’s first cell bank of immensely powerful cancer-killing neutrophils.”
The best thing about neutrophil treatment is that a donor’s cells can be given to anyone without fear of serious rejection, Blyth explained. They live in the body for only five days and disappear before the recipient’s immune system has a chance to react.
The worst thing is that the neutrophils often become “blind” to cancer and may not recognize a cancer cell as “foreign.” They can even shield tumors from other immune system agents.
However, when they do target cancer, neutrophils do so with deadly efficiency, wiping out 95 percent of test cancer cells in 24 hours.
Researchers have collected thousands of the cells discarded as an unwanted waste product by blood banks and are now screening them for their cancer-killing potential. Once identified, the cells are cultured and multiplied many times over using a “secret process.”
Professor Farzin Farzaneh, who is leading the research at King’s College, admitted to early skepticism. “It is something that I don’t believe has been done before, and producing these specific cells with cancer-killing ability is a notion we had not thought of before. We are excited by these early results.”
Diana Jupp, chief executive of Pancreatic Cancer UK, added, “Immunotherapy is a very promising area for research and one that we are funding as a charity. “We know that pancreatic cancer puts up a barrier against immunotherapies, which makes it very difficult for them to work as an effective treatment. It will be very interesting to see the results of this trial.”
Anna Perman, of Cancer Research UK, cautioned that it’s too early to start celebrating. “These types of treatments for cancer are exciting, yet can be complicated. They can have severe side effects.”
The trial, which could start within the next year, would involve between 20 and 40 patients.