The latest findings in cancer vaccine development suggest that cancer vaccines may have two modes of action; specific immunization and non-specific activation of immune cells paralyzed by the tumor.
The human immune system fights cancer partly through the production of many populations of specialized immune cells called cytolytic T cells (CTL). Each CTL population recognizes a different, specific marker, an antigen, on the cancer cell surface. Cancer vaccines are designed to tip the balance in favor of the immune system by stimulating the production of CTLs against the particular antigen in the vaccine. However, in back-to-back articles published today in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, investigators at the Brussels Branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (LICR) and Brussels Louvain University have shown that a cancer vaccine not only specifically stimulates the production of CTLs against the vaccine antigen, it also non-specifically activates spontaneously produced CTL populations against multiple cancer antigens.
According to Dr. Thierry Boon, the Director of the LICR Brussels Branch, this observation opens a new way of thinking about how cancer vaccines might work. "We have always thought that cancer vaccines could only be effective if massive numbers of vaccine-specific CTLs were produced. But it seems that, in about 10% of patients with metastatic melanoma, the vaccine might actually be reawakening different CTL populations that have been effectively deactivated by the tumor."
Sarah L. White | EurekAlert!
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Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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