Readers respond

Autoimmunity and cancer, the Estonian genome project, and taking us to task on the Vatican

(info@the-scientist.com)
May 19, 2004

To the Editor:

I read “Necrosis used to kill cancer,” by John Dudley Miller and its source paper with great interest. I agree that this nice piece of research has much for cancer biologists to ponder. However, I also agree with comments from other investigators that in the field, this particular occurrence will likely be rare due to preemption by apoptotic mechanisms.

As for the conclusion that necrosis induction would be preferable to apoptosis induction because apoptosis suppresses immunity, I'm with Dr. Evan that this suppression is not complete in any case when massive death occurs. In fact, it is a breakdown in such immune suppression that is thought to cause the temporary presence of anti-dsDNA antibodies in mononucleosis patients.

The thought of inducing immune responses to tumor cells is of course not new. For example, about 100 years ago, the New York surgeon William B. Coley noted...

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