New cancer therapy idea: killing blood vessels to tumors
Scientists are proposing a new way to fight solid cancer tumors by interfering with blood vessels surrounding them to shut off the tumor's supply of oxygen and nutrients. The new research could lead to a therapy that combines two different mechanisms used by immune cells to halt the growth of cancer tumors.
The background: The immune system is the most powerful weapon against diseases that we know. Medical researchers have triggered the immune system to fight cancer cells floating in the blood stream, but not successfully on solid tumors.
How it might work: T-cells are a special type of immune cell. They produce both interferon gamma and something called tumor necrosis factor (TNF). Working together, TNF can burst the blood vessels around a cancer, which allows interferon gamma to cut off the blood supply. The researchers tested it on genetically modified mice in a clinical lab setting. It didn't kill the cancer cells, but it kept the disease from progressing by stopping the growth of tumors.