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The Irony of Paraneoplastic Disorders

Image: Courtesy of Koichiro Sakai  DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILY: Hypothetical mechanisms of paraneoplastic neurologic syndromes. Cancer cells share the antigens with neurons or muscle cells; the antigens are exposed to the immune system and sensitize T-cells and B-cells. The sensitized cytotoxic T-cells may directly attack the neuronal cells, or the sensitized helper T-cells and B-cells may induce autoantibodies which cause dysfunction in the neurons or the muscle cells. For over 100 years, scie

Jennifer Fisher Wilson
Image: Courtesy of Koichiro Sakai
 DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILY: Hypothetical mechanisms of paraneoplastic neurologic syndromes. Cancer cells share the antigens with neurons or muscle cells; the antigens are exposed to the immune system and sensitize T-cells and B-cells. The sensitized cytotoxic T-cells may directly attack the neuronal cells, or the sensitized helper T-cells and B-cells may induce autoantibodies which cause dysfunction in the neurons or the muscle cells.

For over 100 years, scientists have known that a rare and ugly relationship exists between certain cancers occurring outside the central nervous system and any related nervous system damage. In these cases, the body attacks its own cancer, but in doing so causes neurological damage. If the cancer is left untreated, the neurodegeneration could progress to severe, irreversible physical impairments and speech and vision deficits.

Photo: Courtesy of Jerome Posner
 Jerome Posner

About 20 years ago, Jerome Posner identified a mechanistic link for these...

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