Leukemia Induces Stress Response to Evade Antibodies

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A recent study finally managed to shed some light on how certain cancerous cells are basically able to hide and avoid detection from the human immune system. The discovery is a world first and has generated a lot of attention.

Lead by Dr. Vadim Sumbayev, a team of researchers from Medway School of Pharmacy found that acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a type of cancer that affects blood or bone marrow, was using a cunning ploy to deceive the body’s natural defense system.

It does this by exploiting a natural occurring steroid, cortisol. Responsible for controlling stress levels, cortisol is then forced to produce a latrophilin 1 protein, which in turn releases galectin-9, suppressing the natural anti-cancer mechanisms in the body.

As always, nature never ceases to amaze with its complexity and ingenuity. By abusing this chain of events, and manipulating cells that normally aid in removing threats, AML has found a unique way of progressing virtually undetected.

Dr. Sumbayev reported that “For the first time, we can identify a possible future pathway to develop an effective new therapy using the body’s natural immune mechanisms. We have discovered a new fundamental biochemical mechanism within the human body that allows AML cells to employ physiological systems to survive and escape immune attack.

Established in 2004 as a collaboration between the universities of Kent and Greenwich, Medway has managed to bring forth an important contribution in cancer research with this discovery. By better understanding, the intricate process, more effective treatments can be developed, not only for sufferers of AML but all the millions of people around the world, affected by cancer.