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Diversion of COVID-19 immune response for cancer treatment




Breast cancer cells

Breast cancer cells photographed with a scanning electron microscope. Credits: Bruce Wetzel and Harry Schaefer, National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Health

Since its introduction a few months ago, COVID-19 has affected almost every country in the world. As of September 9, 2020, 27.6 million people were infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus and 898,000 died. But Dal’s scientists want this devastating pandemic to have a silver backing.

Dr. Shasigjar, a scientist in Dal’s Department of Pathology, works with partners in France, Denmark, Germany, the United States and India. SARS-CoV-2 can be used as a next-generation cancer immunotherapy.

Built-in defense system

From the time you were born Protects you from viruses, bacteria and harmful substances. But why doesn’t it protect you from cancer?

It turns out that the immune system cannot recognize cancer as a threat. According to Dr. Gurjar, this is where viruses like the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can play an important role.

“We have found a way to trick your coronavirus-specific T cells into thinking that your cancer is infected. “The key is to do this without using a virus or actually causing an actual infection.”

When a person is infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, the immune system recognizes the virus and activates certain types of immune cells called “T cells.” These T cells work in a very precise way, killing only the cells that carry the virus. Several internationally tested vaccines have shown similar ability to activate these coronavirus-specific T cells.

T cell retraining

These T cells can establish a memory response that maintains active protection against the possibility of viral reinfection. That is, coronavirus-specific T cells look for the virus in the body, eliminate the area where the virus replicates, and recover from COVID-19.

Dr. Gurjar and his team have these same T cells It expresses the same identification tag as coronavirus-infected cells and is a target for anti-coronavirus T cells.

“Once this immunotherapy is found to work, it is actually a simple process that may be available to patients earlier than later. It is a virus-specific T cell. It’s a very novel and practical strategy that utilizes cells. For different types of cancer. It’s very exciting. “

What makes this study really unique, according to Dr. Gurjar, is that it is coronavirus-specific because of infection or vaccination. It can be found in millions of individuals around the world, and the use of this cancer immunotherapy is useful to the masses around the world.

The power of partnership

Dr. Gurjar is quick to point out that this task would not be possible without the support of partners around the world. Dr. Gurjar and his international collaborators are learning more and more about the virus, testing coronavirus-specific tags (called epitopes in scientific terms) that are now present in different human populations. going. From there, prepare a cocktail of these tags that can be used to treat cancer in a human clinic.

Dr. Gurjar would like to thank the community for its support through the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation (DMRF). He believes that this global initiative led by Dalhousie University has promised to identify highly stimulating cancer immunotherapies and is ready to establish itself as an international leader in this area. Going forward, we are working with DMRF to obtain the financial support and partnership needed to make this project a success.

Dr. Gurjar’s scientific paper explaining this approach, “Diversion of CD8 + T cell immunity to SARS-CoV-2” Immunotherapy: The Positive Aspects of the COVID-19 Pandemic ”was recently published in the journal Tumor immunology..

Cold exposure may give some people a good start in the fight against COVID-19

For more information:
Shashigujar et al. Diversion of CD8 + T cell immunity to SARS-CoV-2 for cancer immunotherapy: Positive aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic? , Tumor immunology (2020). DOI: 10.1080 / 2162402X.2020.1794424

Quote: Diversion of COVID-19 immune response for cancer treatment (September 15, 2020), https: // to 2020 Obtained from September 15, 2014

This document is subject to copyright. No part may be reproduced without written permission, except for private research or fair trade for research purposes. The content is provided for informational purposes only.

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