Turning “sweet” on cancer – developing an entirely new way to fight cancer
Sometimes to push the boundaries of science you have to have a radical new idea. Dr Diego Laderach, based in Argentina, is using funding from Worldwide Cancer Research to pursue just that. His teams work is aiming to develop a brand new type of immunotherapy for prostate cancer by targeting a feature of cancer cells that has never before been tested.
Their potentially game-changing idea involves stimulating the immune system to target a specific molecule found in abundance on the outside of cancer cells. This molecule is also found on the surface of a special type of white blood cells called a suppressive T-cell, which contribute to cancer by suppressing the immune system from attacking rouge cancer cells. Dr Laderach proposes to trick the immune system into eradicating cells displaying the molecule using a ‘sugary’ form of the same molecule. The hope is that this will lead to a two-pronged attack on cancer that allows the full force of the immune system to be unleashed on the disease.
The teams work will focus on prostate cancer but Dr Laderach says that the impact of their work “…will significantly contribute to the design of novel therapeutic strategies which, in combination with current treatments, will be of paramount clinical benefit in patients with advanced prostate cancer and probably other types of cancer.”