Did you ever imagine that Darwin’s theory of evolution could ever be applied to mesothelioma research? It’s a real possibility, as cancer researchers from the United Kingdom begin to study how cancer cells grow and evolve to survive, and specifically how they change to evade the effects of the body’s immune system.
UK Researchers Work to Understand How Cancer Cells Evade Immune System
Though this research is specifically studying a common form of lung cancer rather than malignant mesothelioma, there is every reason to believe that its findings will also apply to the rare and deadly asbestos-related disease. Scientists from TRACERx, a major research initiative whose goal is to find practical steps to make precision medicine for lung cancer patients a reality, are examining the evolution of lung cancers. They have been following almost 850 patients with the most common type of lung cancer, looking at the cells within the tumors as well as the environment in which it is growing to determine the impact that the immune system is having on the way that it grows.
Scientists Find Cancer Cells Evolve as a Survival Mechanism
The group’s efforts have already made an impact of our understanding of mesothelioma, as they have determine that the pressure the immune system places on cancers serves as a catalyst for cells to delete their own DNA mutations so that the immune system does not recognize the anomaly and try to get rid of it. Researchers also found that that cells were capable of halting production of mutations on their surfaces so that they would not be detectable to immune cells, and that when cancer cells are in locations where there is a high concentration of immune cells they act differently than in areas where there is little immune involvement. The cells use different tactics depending upon how active the immune system is the area where the tumor is located, and areas where little immune activity is observed are thought to already have evolved and defeated the immune system. The researchers hope to learn more about the process in hopes that they will eventually be able to reactivate the immune system.
As the search for a cure for mesothelioma continues, the input from international researchers like those in the UK are invaluable. For more information on the facilities that are making the greatest headway in treatment, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.