Researchers at the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center have located a "kill switch" that can trigger the death of cancer cells. They identified a protein on the CD95 receptor, which is part of a cell's communication system, that can "program" cancer cells to die. This significant discovery was detailed in a study published in the journal "Cell Death & Differentiation."
Receptors like CD95 are proteins that cells use to receive signals from outside. CD95 has earned the nickname "death receptor" because it can send a signal to a cancer cell, causing it to die. This process was hard to control in the past, but the new discovery of a specific part of the receptor to target may change that.
Dr. Jogender Tushir-Singh, an associate professor at UC Davis and the senior author of the study, said, "Previous efforts to target this receptor have been unsuccessful. But now that we've identified this epitope, there could be a therapeutic path forward to target Fas in tumors."
An epitope is essentially the part of an antigen that is recognized by the immune system, specifically by antibodies, B cells, or T cells. Think of an antigen as a "foreign invader" in the body. The epitope is like a distinct feature or a "flag" on this invader that the immune system can identify and target.
Tushir-Singh points out that the cost and effectiveness of CAR T-cell therapy, which could run as high as $500,000, are current barriers but suggests that enhancing CD95 receptors could improve its success against solid tumors.
Although no drugs targeting the CD95 receptor are in clinical trials yet, this new research suggests a direction for future cancer treatment development. Tushir-Singh mentioned, "Our study strongly provides a comprehensive takeaway and potential solution to transform the meager success of CAR-T therapies into potentially successful [therapies for] solid tumors."
Nonetheless, more data is needed to address the potential treatment's efficacy. However, Tushir-Singh is optimistic, noting that the findings allow for a fresh perspective in the analysis of human tumor samples.
Tushir-Singh also mentioned the crucial role of the CD95 receptor in the effectiveness of CAR-T therapy and the importance of screening for Fas presence on tumors in potential therapy candidates.
According to Fox News, Tushir-Singh expressed hope for the future of cancer treatments.
"Due to the advent of cancer immunotherapy and other targeted therapies, cancer rates overall in the past decades have decreased significantly," he stated. "I read every day the outstanding research that is happening in the U.S. to beat cancer. People should stay positive."
"The next breakthrough," he added, "is just one experiment away."
Nick Koutsobinas, a Newsmax writer, has years of news reporting experience. A graduate from Missouri State University’s philosophy program, he focuses on exposing corruption and censorship.
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