Posted by News Express | 4 March 2016 | 2,523 times
A cure for even advanced cancers using patients’ DNA could be just two years away after a British breakthrough.
Experts found tumour cells have proteins that can act as targets for the body’s defences to blast.
The antigen proteins are too shielded or mutate too much for enough immune system T-cells to spot them.
But scientists say they can beat that by mapping DNA in patients’ tumours to make drugs tailored to individuals.
Prof Charles Swanton of University College London said: “I’ll be disappointed if we haven’t treated a patient within two years. If it doesn’t work I’ll hang my hat up and do something else.
“We can target antigens – the Achilles’ heel of these complex cancers.
“It takes personalised medicine to its absolute limit. Each patient would get a unique, bespoke treatment.”
Only around two per cent of T-cells in a tumour recognise antigens as a target to attack. In future medics could extract these T-cells, multiply them in labs and reinject them into the patient.
Another option would be to develop drugs to spur more T-cells into action.
Both would beat the problem of tumours mutating to resist treatment.
So far only two antigens and T-cells that recognise them have been identified in two patients. But scientists are optimistic of rapid progress.
Each year cancer strikes 330,000 Brits and claims 160,000 lives.
•Credit (except for amended headline): The Sun, London. Photo shows a cancer researcher at work.
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