Protein Spurs T-Cell Proliferation

A newly discovered protein promotes immunity to viruses and cancer by triggering the production of cytotoxic T cells.

By Jef Akst | April 17, 2015

Human T cellFLICKR, NIAIDEditor’s note (December 16, 2016): This paper has been retracted.

After a genetic mouse screen revealed a strain of mice that produced 10 times as many cytotoxic T cells as its wild-type counterparts when infected with a virus, researchers knew they were onto something interesting. The mice not only suppressed viral infections more effectively, but those infections spurred the production of more memory T cells that allowed the animals to mount an even more efficient response to the virus upon reinfection. Finally, the mice were also more resistant to cancer.

“The discovery of a protein that could boost the immune response to not only cancer, but also to viruses, is a fascinating one,” Mike Turner, head of infection and immunobiology at the Wellcome Trust who was not involved in the study, said in a press release. “Further investigation in animal models is needed before human trials can commence, but there is potential for a new type of treatment that capitalises on the immune system’s innate ability to detect and kill abnormal cells.”

Digging deeper into the cause of the mice’s enhanced immunity, researchers from Imperial College London, Queen Mary University of London, ETH Zürich, and Harvard Medical School identified a new protein—which they dubbed lymphocyte expansion molecule (LEM)—that appeared to be behind the observed effects. The team has filed two patent applications, formed a company (ImmunarT) to commercialize the technology, and is now working to develop a gene therapy to boost production of LEM, which it hopes to have in clinical trials in three years. Their results were published this week (April 16) in Science.

“Cancer cells have ways to suppress T cell activity, helping them to escape the immune system,” study coauthor Philip Ashton-Rickardt of Imperial College London said in the release. “By introducing an active version of the LEM gene into the T cells of cancer patients, we hope we can provide a robust treatment for patients.”

“This discovery has immediate consequences for the delivery of innovative therapeutic approaches to cancer,” agreed coauthor Claudio Mauro of the Centre for Biochemical Pharmacology at Queen Mary University. “Its ramifications, however, are far greater as they can help [explain] the biological mechanisms of widespread human diseases involving altered immune and inflammatory responses.”

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Avatar of: Ferromagnetism


Posts: 3

April 23, 2015

Scientists, Proteins, Scientific Conspiracy Theories and Father of Oncology. Scientists have uncovered a protein that not only boosts immunity to cancer but also has the ability to fight viruses, an unexpected discovery because the protein previously had no known function and was unlike any other protein. Not all scientific conspiracy theories are wrong, the Father of Oncology explains. Conspiracy theories are immensely popular today. Conspiracy theories are easy to propagate and difficult to refute. Cancer is the name given to a collection of related diseases; cancer can start almost anywhere in the human body, which is made up of trillions of cells, the U.S. National Cancer Institute says. Cancer is a disease of iron-overloaded cells. Proteins are constructed from a set of 20 amino acids and have distinct three-dimensional shapes. At the cellular level, cancer occurs when cellular iron overload chaotically affects cellular molecules (proteins are large cellular molecules) and organelles, the Father of Oncology says. Primary tumors always develop at body sites of excessive iron deposits. Personalized clinical iron-deficiency methods can neutralize micrometastases. Surgery (ceramic blades) and direct intratumoral injections of iron-deficiency agents (ceramic needles) can eliminate tumors and metastases. Cancer costs the world economy nearly US$3 trillion every year. That is why scientific iron/cancer information-1905-2015 is largely ignored. One day, cancer will be chained to the iron chains, Vanga said. HIV is a priority for all health authorities in all countries over the world as one of the main dangers for individual’s health. HIV/AIDS affects every country in the world and in many infection rates are increasing rapidly. HIV drugs cost a lot of money. Today, an estimated 42 million people live with HIV/AIDS; the Father of Oncology lives without HIV/AIDS. Iron is essential for all pathogens. Viruses need iron for survival, growth and multiplication. Many macromolecules contain iron. When a virus particle is removed from its host it behaves like other macromolecules, such as hemoglobin. Viruses often express proteins that modify host-cell processes so as to maximize viral replication. A slow virus is a virus, etiologically associated with a disease, having a long incubation period of months to years. Iron-deficiency methods can affect the growth and multiplication of slow viruses. Personalized clinical iron-deficiency methods can neutralize HIV. Understanding how iron metabolism and viral infection interact might suggest new iron-deficiency methods to control HIV. Scientists can refute scientific conspiracy theories.  ;  ;  ;  ;  Vadim Shapoval

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