T cells use a novel mechanism to fight leukemia.
They may recognize unique lipids produced by cancer cells and kill tumor cells expressing these lipid molecules. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Basel shows that a tumor-associated lipid stimulates specific T cells, which efficiently kill leukemia cells both in vitro and in animal models. The results have been published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.
Leukemias are cancer diseases affecting blood cells . Acute leukemias prevent development of normal bold cells and thereby are severe life-threatening diseases. Current therapy for acute leukemias is based on chemotherapy that eradicates tumor cells followed by bone-marrow stem cell transplantation that reconstitutes the patient with healthy blood cells. In some cases, leukemia cells survive this treatment and start to re-grow. A major aim of many studies is finding novel and efficient ways to detect and eradicate leukemia cells before a second outbreak of the disease.
More punch against tumor cells
T lymphocytes are major contributors to fight against leukemias. T cells may recognize and become activated by tumor-specific protein antigens in some instances produced in large amounts only by tumor cells. These protein antigens are also called tumor-associated antigens (TAA) and stimulate specific T cells, which in turn kill leukemia cells. However, protein TAA accumulation can be drastically reduced by variant leukemia cells and some TAA may change their structure, thus preventing recognition by T cells and facilitating tumor immune evasion.
Prof. Gennaro De Libero and his team from the Department of Biomedicine at the University of Basel has identified a new approach that might help to make the immune system more efficient in recognizing leukemia cells. His research team is studying T cells that specifically recognize lipid antigens since several years. Together with colleagues in Italy, China and Singapore, the Swiss team has identified a new lipid that accumulates in leukemia cells and that stimulates specific T cell responses. The new lipid methyl-lysophosphatidic acid (mLPA) is very abundant in several forms of human leukemias and is the first example of a lipid TAA.
Therapeutic implications in human leukemia
The published study also shows that it is possible to isolate human T cells that specifically recognize and kill mLPA-expressing leukemia cells in in vitro tests. When these T cells were transplanted into mice, they also displayed great in vivo therapeutic efficacy against leukemia cells.
An important feature of mLPA is that differently from protein TAA, it does not change its structure, and remains abundant in leukemia cells. The Swiss team is now investigating, whether mLPA can be used to target leukemia cells in addition to protein TAA. This type of immunotherapy may be extremely beneficial in preventing relapses of the disease after chemotherapy and bone marrow transplantation. It opens new avenues to novel non-invasive cancer immunotherapies.
Marco Lepore, Claudia de Lalla, S. Ramanjaneyulu Gundimeda, Heiko Gsellinger, Michela Consonni, Claudio Garavaglia, Sebastiano Sansano, Francesco Piccolo, Andrea Scelfo, Daniel Häussinger, Daniela Montagna, Franco Locatelli, Chiara Bonini, Attilio Bondanza, Alessandra Forcina, Zhiyuan Li, Guanghui Ni, Fabio Ciceri, Paul Jenö, Chengfeng Xia, Lucia Mori, Paolo Dellabona, Giulia Casorati, and Gennaro De Libero
A novel self-lipid antigen targets human T cells against CDc+ leukemias
The Journal of Experimental Medicine (2014) | doi: 10.1084/jem.20140410
• Prof. Gennaro De Libero, University of Basel, Department of Biomedicine, phone: +41 61 265 23 65, email: email@example.com
• Dr. Lucia Mori, University of Basel, Department of Biomedicine, phone: +41 61 265 23 27, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Reto Caluori | Universität Basel
Fish Oil-Diet Benefits May be Mediated by Gut Microbes
28.08.2015 | University of Gothenburg
Bio-fabrication of Artificial Blood Vessels with Laser Light
28.08.2015 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT
A University of Oklahoma astrophysicist and his Chinese collaborator have found two supermassive black holes in Markarian 231, the nearest quasar to Earth, using observations from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.
The discovery of two supermassive black holes--one larger one and a second, smaller one--are evidence of a binary black hole and suggests that supermassive...
A team of European researchers have developed a model to simulate the impact of tsunamis generated by earthquakes and applied it to the Eastern Mediterranean. The results show how tsunami waves could hit and inundate coastal areas in southern Italy and Greece. The study is published today (27 August) in Ocean Science, an open access journal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU).
Though not as frequent as in the Pacific and Indian oceans, tsunamis also occur in the Mediterranean, mainly due to earthquakes generated when the African...
In mountainous regions earthquakes often cause strong landslides, which can be exacerbated by heavy rain. However, after an initial increase, the frequency of these mass wasting events, often enormous and dangerous, declines, in fact independently of meteorological events and aftershocks.
These new findings are presented by a German-Franco-Japanese team of geoscientists in the current issue of the journal Geology, under the lead of the GFZ...
Bacteria do not cease to amaze us with their survival strategies. A research team from the University of Basel's Biozentrum has now discovered how bacteria enter a sleep mode using a so-called FIC toxin. In the current issue of “Cell Reports”, the scientists describe the mechanism of action and also explain why their discovery provides new insights into the evolution of pathogens.
For many poisons there are antidotes which neutralize their toxic effect. Toxin-antitoxin systems in bacteria work in a similar manner: As long as a cell...
It comes when called, bringing care utensils with it and recording how they are used: Fraunhofer IPA is developing an intelligent care cart that provides care staff with physical and informational support in their day-to-day work. The scientists at Fraunhofer IPA have now completed a first prototype. In doing so, they are continuing in their efforts to improve working conditions in the care sector and are developing solutions designed to address the challenges of demographic change.
Technical assistance systems can improve the difficult working conditions in residential nursing homes and hospitals by helping the staff in their work and...
20.08.2015 | Event News
20.08.2015 | Event News
19.08.2015 | Event News
28.08.2015 | Physics and Astronomy
28.08.2015 | Health and Medicine
28.08.2015 | Life Sciences