New research has identified the mechanisms responsible for enhancing immune system activity, offering new approaches for more effective cancer treatments and vaccines. Invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells are part of the immune system’s arsenal for fighting infection and defeating diseases like cancer. Finding ways to activate these potent cells more quickly could lead to…

Researchers at Harvard have described a new cancer vaccine approach that uses an injectable biomaterial scaffold to deliver a payload of tumor-specific peptides that stimulate the immune system to respond rapidly to cancer cells. Abstract Existing strategies to enhance peptide immunogenicity for cancer vaccination generally require direct peptide alteration, which, beyond practical issues, may impact…

There may be other methods than drugs to destroy senescent cells, which accumulate with age. The immune system fails as we age, and rejuvenating it may be another route to removing harmful, pro-aging senescent cells. Senescent cells and senolytics As your body ages, increasing amounts of your cells enter into a state of senescence. Senescent…

Last year, we talked about a new cancer “vaccine” currently in clinical trials in an article here, and now a second cancer vaccine is capturing media interest due to impressive results in the lab. The new therapy is now in human clinical trials for lymphoma patients. Researchers at Stanford Medicine have found that injecting two…

Thirty-seven-year-old Nick Asoian of Denver unsuccessfully fought Hodgkin’s Lymphoma using conventional cancer treatments for two years.  In 2008, while in New Zealand for a ski race, Nick was diagnosed with the condition. Two bone marrow transplants and two years of chemotherapy combined with radiation therapy didn’t bring his cancer to heel. Nick Asoian. Image source:…

By now, the immunotherapeutic approach to fighting cancer has become so popular that you’ve most probably already heard of it—we’ve discussed it a few times too.  While immunotherapy is currently one of the best weapons in our anticancer arsenal, it is not always effective; however, researchers at Zurich University have recently found a way to…

Cancer can often evade the immune system by sending signals that fool it into thinking that the cancer cells are normal, healthy cells and that it should ignore them. Earlier this year, we reported on an approach to treating cancer in which the immune system can be taught to detect cancer by seeing past the…

T Cells are a major component of the formidable immune system that the body keeps at the ready to respond to the first sign of infection or disease. T cells detect if cells have been infected with a virus; upon detection, they trigger these cells’ ablation and destroy the virus. Unfortunately, the T cells do…

Natural killer (NK) cells are lymphocytes, immune cells which have a powerful arsenal of cytotoxic weaponry that they can use against tumors. Unfortunately, tumors protect themselves using a protective microenvironment that shields them from attack from NK cells. This microenvironment promotes tumor growth and survival and has an immunosuppressive effect that blunts the attempts of…

A research team at MIT has used synthetic biology to create a gene circuit that triggers the immune system to attack cancer when it first detects the signs of the disease. The circuit works by only activating the immune response when two specific cancer biomarkers are detected. The new study was published in the journal…

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