Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


White blood cells from cancer-resistant mice cure cancers in ordinary mice

White blood cells from a strain of cancer-resistant mice cured advanced cancers in ordinary laboratory mice, researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine reported today.

"Even highly aggressive forms of malignancy with extremely large tumors were eradicated," Zheng Cui, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues reported in this week’s on-line edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The transplanted white blood cells not only killed existing cancers, but also protected normal mice from what should have been lethal doses of highly aggressive new cancers.

"This is the very first time that this exceptionally aggressive type of cancer was treated successfully," said Cui. "Never before has this been done with any other therapy."

The original studies on the cancer-resistant mice – reported in 2003 – showed that such resistance could be inherited, which had implications for inheritance of resistance in humans, said Mark C. Willingham, M.D., a pathologist and co-investigator. "This study shows that you can use this resistant-cell therapy in mice and that the therapy works. The next step is to understand the exact way in which it works, and perhaps eventually design such a therapy for humans."

The cancer-resistant mice all stem from a single mouse discovered in 1999. "The cancer resistance trait so far has been passed to more than 2,000 descendants in 14 generations," said Cui, associate professor of pathology. It also has been bred into three additional mouse strains. About 40 percent of each generation inherits the protection from cancer.

The original group of cancer-resistant mice, also described in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, successfully fought off a range of virulent transplanted cancers.

"Now we know that we can take white blood cells from this strange mouse and put them into a normal mouse and these cells will still kill cancers," said Willingham, professor of pathology and head of the Section on Tumor Biology. "This is therapy in a mouse that does not have this magical genetic inheritance."

The transplanted white blood cells included natural killer cells, and other white blood cells called neutrophils and macrophages that are part of the body’s "innate immune system." This system forms a first line of host defense against pathogens, such as bacteria.

"Their activation requires no prior exposure, but rather depends on a pre-determined mechanism to recognize specific patterns on the cancer cell surface," the researchers said.

Moreover, preliminary studies show that the white blood cells also kill "endogenous" cancers – cancers that spring up naturally in the body’s own cells.

Cui and Willingham said the research produced many other surprises. For one thing, if a virulent tumor was planted in a normal mouse’s back, and the transplanted white blood cells were injected into the mouse’s abdomen, the cells still found the cancer without harming normal cells. The kind of cancer didn’t seem to matter.

A single injection of cancer-resistant macrophages offered long-term protection for the entire lifespan of the recipient mouse, something very unexpected, they said.

"The potency and selectivity for cancer cells are so high that, if we learned the mechanism, it would give us hope that this would work in humans," said Cui. "This would suggest that cancer cells send out a signal, but normal white blood cells can’t find them."

Cui said the findings "suggest a cancer-host relationship that may point in a new therapeutic direction in which adverse side effects of treatment are minimal."

The next steps include understanding the molecular mechanism. "The real key is finding the mutation, which is an ongoing investigation in collaboration with several other laboratories," said Willingham.

Cui, Willingham and their colleagues also showed that highly purified natural killer cells, macrophages and neutrophils taken from the cancer-resistant mice killed many different types of cancer cells in laboratory studies in test tubes.

Besides Cui and Willingham, the team includes Amy M. Hicks, Ph.D., Anne M. Sanders, B.S., Holly M. Weir, M.S., Wei Du, M.D., and Joseph Kim, B.A., from pathology, Greg Riedlinger, B.S., from cancer biology, Martha A. Alexander-Miller, Ph.D., from microbiology and immunology, Mark J. Pettenati, Ph.D., and C. Von Kap-Herr, M. Sc., from medical genetics, and Andrew J.G. Simpson, Ph.D., and Lloyd J. Old, M.D., of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in New York.

Robert Conn | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht First time-lapse footage of cell activity during limb regeneration
25.10.2016 | eLife

nachricht Phenotype at the push of a button
25.10.2016 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere

25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

Fluorescent holography: Upending the world of biological imaging

25.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Etching Microstructures with Lasers

25.10.2016 | Process Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>