Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Early evidence suggests that TB jab could help fight cancer

Date:
August 11, 2011
Source:
St George's, University of London
Summary:
Scientists have found a potential new mechanism to stimulate the body’s own ability to fight cancer using the germ commonly used to inoculate against tuberculosis.

Scientists have found a potential new mechanism to stimulate the body's own ability to fight cancer using Baculillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) -- the germ commonly used to inoculate against tuberculosis (TB).

Related Articles


The findings are published online in the British Journal of Cancer on August 10, 2011.

The researchers, Dr Wai Liu and Professor Angus Dalgleish from St George's, University of London, say this new data suggests a mechanism by which vaccines could enhance the anti-cancer activity of currently available therapies. However, they warn that this is an early-stage study and that there is much more research to be done before patients will benefit.

In laboratory-based experiments conducted with human tumour cells outside of the body, the researchers showed that a small amount of BCG can instruct white blood cells to produce chemicals called cytokines. These make tumour cells more likely to be detected by the body's immune system.

"Cancerous cells are known to camouflage themselves as healthy cells. This means our blood cells responsible for immunity aren't able to recognise the cancerous cells as being a problem and so the disease is able to continue to spread," explains lead researcher Dr Wai Liu. "This study found that a small quantity of BCG -- similar to the amount that is administered in a TB inoculation -- can help the immune system recognise the cancer cells as 'foreign'. The immune system can then attack these cells in the same way it would any other infection."

The cytokines produced as a consequence of the BCG jab set off a chain of events that begins with the hijacking of the tumour and forcing it to switch off its camouflage. This renders it visible to the body's immune system, and so the white blood cells responsible for destroying 'foreign' cells now have targets to attack.

The researchers tested the BCG injection on human cells from lung, breast, colon, pancreatic and skin cancer. Their research showed that in three of the cancer types -- lung, breast and colon -- the restoration of their visibility to immune cells was increased. Within the limits of the laboratory-based study, those cancer cells with reduced camouflage were then successfully targeted by white cells responsible for killing cancer cells.

Scientific knowledge around using drugs to stimulate the body's natural defences against cancer is becoming more prominent. The researchers believe that these findings provide more evidence that, in the future, this treatment method may provide further options for patients that could be used in combination with existing cancer drug treatment.

"Using the body's own immune system is a relatively new way of thinking in the development of cancer treatments, and scientists are still building up a knowledge base about it. If successful, this method of treatment could be used in combination with existing cancer drugs. It could potentially see patients taking less medication, having fewer and less severe side effects and recovering quicker," says Dr Liu.

"This research is at an early stage of investigation, and so far has analysed the reaction of human blood outside of the body, so more work is needed before these findings can be used in practice. The next stage will be to develop a compound suitable for clinical trials," he concludes.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by St George's, University of London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. W M Liu, D W Fowler, A M Gravett, P Smith, A G Dalgleish. Supernatants from lymphocytes stimulated with Bacillus Calmette-Guerin can modify the antigenicity of tumours and stimulate allogeneic T-cell responses. British Journal of Cancer, 2011; DOI: 10.1038/bjc.2011.306

Cite This Page:

St George's, University of London. "Early evidence suggests that TB jab could help fight cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110810085504.htm>.
St George's, University of London. (2011, August 11). Early evidence suggests that TB jab could help fight cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 5, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110810085504.htm
St George's, University of London. "Early evidence suggests that TB jab could help fight cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110810085504.htm (accessed March 5, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Adults Only Get The Flu Twice A Decade, Researchers Say

Adults Only Get The Flu Twice A Decade, Researchers Say

Newsy (Mar. 4, 2015) Researchers found adults only get the flu about once every five years. Scientists analyzed how a person&apos;s immunity builds up over time as well. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Hormone Could Protect Against Diabetes And Weight Gain

New Hormone Could Protect Against Diabetes And Weight Gain

Newsy (Mar. 4, 2015) A newly discovered hormone mimics the effects of exercise, protecting against diabetes and weight gain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mount Everest Has a Poop Problem

Mount Everest Has a Poop Problem

Buzz60 (Mar. 4, 2015) With no bathrooms to use, climbers of Mount Everest have been leaving human waste on the mountain for years, and it&apos;s becoming a health issue. Mike Janela (@mikejanela) has more. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Tips to 'Skinny' Your Home

The Best Tips to 'Skinny' Your Home

Buzz60 (Mar. 4, 2015) If you&apos;re looking to reach your health goals this season, there are a few simple tips to help you spring clean your space and improve your nutrition. Krystin Goodwin (@krystingoodwin) has the skinny on keeping a healthy home. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins