Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Northeastern researchers make breakthrough discovery in cancer treatment

05.03.2015

Michail Sitkovsky, an immunophysiology expert at Northeastern, and his research colleagues have found that supplemental oxygenation could shrink tumors and improve cancer immunotherapy

Michail Sitkovsky, an immunophysiology expert at Northeastern University, and his research colleagues have made a breakthrough discovery in cancer treatment. The new approach, some 30 years in the making, could dramatically increase the survival rate of patients with cancer, which kills some 8 million people each year.


'This discovery shifts the paradigm of decades-long drug development'.

Credit: Brooks Canaday/Northeastern University

The findings were published Wednesday in Science Translational Medicine, an interdisciplinary medical journal founded in 2009 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Sitkovsky et al. found that supplemental oxygenation inhibits the hypoxia-driven accumulation of adenosine in the tumor microenvironment and weakens immunosuppression. This, in turn, could improve cancer immunotherapy and shrink tumors by unleashing anti-tumor T lymphocytes and natural killer cells.

"This discovery shifts the paradigm of decades-long drug development, a process with a low success rate," said Sitkovsky, the Eleanor W. Black Chair and Professor of Immunophysiology and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology at Northeastern and the founding director of the university's New England Inflammation and Tissue Protection Institute.

"Indeed, it is promising that our method could be implemented relatively quickly by testing in clinical trials the effects of oxygenation in combination with different types of already existing immunotherapies of cancer."

The paper--titled "Immunological mechanisms of the antitumor effects of supplemental oxygenation"--was the result of a robust interdisciplinary collaboration between doctors and researchers at some of the country's most prestigious universities, hospitals, and medical schools. Co-authors comprised 12 researchers from NEITPI, the Northeastern-based consortium aimed at understanding the underlying causes and molecular mechanisms of inflammation; Barry Karger, the director of Northeastern's Barnett Institute of Chemical and Biological Analysis; and doctors from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where Sitkovsy holds an appointment as a presidential scholar.

The findings build upon Sitkovsky's previous research and represent the culmination of his life's work, which has been supported by Northeastern and the National Institutes of Health. In the early 2000s, Sitkovsky made an important discovery in immunology, which has come to inform his research in cancer biology. He found that a receptor on the surface of immune cells--the A2A adenosine receptor--is responsible for preventing T cells from invading tumors and for "putting to sleep" those killer cells that do manage to enter into the tumors.

His latest work shows that inhaling 40 to 60 percent oxygen--air offers 21 percent oxygen--weakened tumor-protecting signaling through the A2A adenosine receptor and awakened T cells that had gained the ability to invade lung tumors.

"Breathing supplemental oxygen opens up the gates of the tumor fortress and wakes up 'sleepy' anti-tumor cells, enabling these soldiers to enter the fortress and destroy it," Sitkovsy explained. "However," he added, "if anti-tumor immune cells are not present, oxygen will have no impact."

Sitkovsky further noted that the effects of supplemental oxygenation might be even stronger in combination with a synthetic agent that he calls "super-caffeine," which is known to block the tumor-protecting effects of the adenosine receptor. He and Graham Jones, professor and chair of Northeastern's Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, are currently collaborating to design the next generation of this drug, which was originally developed for patients with Parkinson's disease.

"The anti-tumor effects of supplemental oxygen can be further improved by the natural antagonist of the A2A adenosine receptor, which happens to be the caffeine in your coffee," Sitkovsky said. "People drink coffee because caffeine prevents the A2A adenosine receptor in the brain from putting us to sleep."

Media Contact

Casey Bayer
c.bayer@neu.edu
617-373-2592

 @Northeastern

http://www.neu.edu 

Casey Bayer | EurekAlert!

Further reports about: A2A Medicine T cells adenosine adenosine receptor caffeine coffee immune receptor tumors

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Spanish scientists create a 3-D bioprinter to print human skin
24.01.2017 | Carlos III University of Madrid

nachricht Tracking movement of immune cells identifies key first steps in inflammatory arthritis
23.01.2017 | Massachusetts General Hospital

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Scientists spin artificial silk from whey protein

X-ray study throws light on key process for production

A Swedish-German team of researchers has cleared up a key process for the artificial production of silk. With the help of the intense X-rays from DESY's...

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Breaking the optical bandwidth record of stable pulsed lasers

24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Choreographing the microRNA-target dance

24.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Spanish scientists create a 3-D bioprinter to print human skin

24.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>