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Cancer researchers continually search to find the answers to how and why cancer develops.Â Recognizing the positive link between the earlier detection of cancer and a patient's chance for cure, the focus on finding the earliest signs of cancer remains strong.Â
Dr. Michael Girardi, Associate Professor of Dermatology and Associate Clinical Director of the Immunology and Immunotherapy Research Program at Yale Cancer Center, has narrowed his research priorities at Yale to investigate the relationship between the immune system and cancer.Â Over the last decade, Dr. Girardi and his research team have made several important discoveries to aid our understanding of the role our immune system plays in cancer.Â Most recently, their research narrowed in on the correlation between damaged cells and cancer development.
The human body uses a process called immunosurveillance to continually monitor, detect, and destroy malignant cells.Â While immunosurveillance has been commonly accepted, Dr. Girardi analyzed the process more closely to determine if there were very early signs of damaged cells that could be recognized by the immune system before further developing.Â
In collaboration with colleagues at the King's College School of Medicine in London, Dr. Girardi's team studied how the immune system responds to epithelial cells displaying Rae-1, a marker of stress and inflammation.Â Such markers are considered very early cellular flags for tumor development.
"We recognize that the battle against cancer is more easily won and the odds are stacked in our favor when we can identify responses to the earliest signs of the disease," Dr. Girardi explained.Â "By identifying how the immune system reacts to the first cellular flags for the disease we can discover new ways to suppress the development of cancer."
The expression of Rae-1 molecules triggers an immune system response and reorganization of dendritic cells, T cells, and natural killer T cells, all of which are known to help destroy malignant cells.Â By studying the immune response to determine the chain of events once Rae-1 molecules have been flagged, researchers found that the body's immune system does immediately respond to destroy the damaged cells.Â Unfortunately, the research also revealed that the molecules had the ability to manipulate our body's response and in some situations avoid destruction by the immune response.Â
"Our findings confirm our body's natural reaction and immune response to damaged cells.Â While we do not know how often our immune system is activated against cellular changes, the potential that our immune system continually battles early cellular signs of cancer is clear," Dr. Girardi explained.
Because epithelial tissues are a component of several of the body's organs, including the skin, lungs, colon, prostate, bladder, and cervix, Dr. Girardi's work will have implications in the fight against many types of cancer.Â The next step will be to determine how to easily identify the early flags found in immunosurveillance to detect cancers at their earliest point and to customize immunotherapies to combat the cancer's development.Â
The results of Dr. Girardi's collaborative study will have a permanent impact on the field of cancer research.Â In humans, there is a whole family of analogues to Rae-1, such as MICA and MICB.Â "Our findings confirm the role of the immune system in earliest signs of cancer and will open the door to new methods of detection and treatment by targeting MICA and MICB genetic variations," Dr. Girardi said.
3rd April 2011
Have you ever wondered why the immune system is so important to a person newly diagnosed with cancer? An undisputed fact is, all cancers are caused because its been weakened and has allowed cancer cells to grow out of control, but unfortunately your doctor won't tell you this.
Our immune system is our built in repair system that we were born with and is with us throughout life.Â It is there to protect us from bacteria, viruses and other foreign invaders including cancer and even when we have those common medical problems like cuts, bruises or a broken boneÂ it will heal those too. Human beings can not survive without a healthy immune system.
The immune system is a complicated and poorly understood defense mechanism. What we do know is it can naturally remove cancer unless it's been weakened by our modern way of living today with our unsuitable food, the toxic chemicals we surround ourselves with and our lack of exercise. If the body is well nourished it can and will attack cancer cells.Â ItÂ is more complex than our circulatory system which is our heart and blood vessels.
Â Proof of the importance of the immune system, a person with AIDS which is a virus that destroysÂ it and has no known cure will usually die of a disease that it would normally control. Two of the most common problems AIDS patients die of are pneumonia or a rare type of cancer called Kaposi's sarcoma.
As we age the immune system naturally weakens and this is why cancer is prevalent in people around middle age. Pregnant women also have a naturally suppressed immune system because of their pregnancy and many women have been diagnosed with cancer soon after the birth of a child.
The human body is a miraculous living item and even as medical science slowly learn more about it they will never fully understand its inner workings completely because of its complexities. So with that in mind, doesn't it make sense to use the healing powers of the human body that we all have and allow the body to remove the cancer, which it will do. When someone is diagnosed with cancer they are already undergoing a major health challenge and what they need is gentle therapies, not treatments that suppress the natural healing powers of the body.
It's a pity there wasn't a pill to strengthen our immune system but unfortunately there isn't, there are only natural ways to do that and they are very easy to carry out. Foods that support itÂ are freshly grown produce that hasn't been processed or interfered with by man. Some examples of super foods are garlic, onions and broccoli. Foods that depress it are refined sugar, too much fat in the diet and junk food. Other ways to boost the immune system are a little exercise everyday and rest.
A true cure for cancer will only be achieved when a patient stimulates their own bodies defence system and the only way to do that is live as Mother Nature intended us to live. The most efficient healer the human body has is a correctly functioning natural immune system.
Alan Wighton is an independent health researcher, having spent many years specialising in cancer. For more information on how to use the immune system to rid the body of cancer which is a very effective way to achieve a permanent cure; please visit Cancer Facts & Information
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3rd April 2011
Excepting the rare transmissions that occur with pregnancies and only a marginal few organ donors, cancer is generally not a transmissible disease. The main reason for this is tissue graft rejection caused by MHC incompatibility. In humans and other vertebrates, the immune system uses MHC antigens to differentiate between "self" and "non-self" cells because these antigens are different from person to person. When non-self antigens are encountered, the immune system reacts against the appropriate cell. Such reactions may protect against tumour cell engraftment by eliminating implanted cells. In the United States, approximately 3,500 pregnant women have a malignancy annually, and transplacental transmission of acute leukaemia, lymphoma, melanoma and carcinoma from mother to fetus has been observed. The development of donor-derived tumors from organ transplants is exceedingly rare. The main cause of organ transplant associated tumors seems to be malignant melanoma, that was undetected at the time of organ harvest. though other cases exist In fact, cancer from one organism will usually grow in another organism of that species, as long as they share the same histocompatibility genes, proven using mice; however this would never happen in a real-world setting except as described above.
In non-humans, a few types of transmissible cancer have been described, wherein the cancer spreads between animals by transmission of the tumor cells themselves. This phenomenon is seen in dogs with Sticker's sarcoma, also known as canine transmissible venereal tumor, as well as devil facial tumour disease in Tasmanian devils.
3rd april 2011
^ a b Tolar J, Neglia JP (June 2003). "Transplacental and other routes of cancer transmission between individuals". J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 25 (6): 430-4. doi:10.1097/00043426-200306000-00002. PMIDÂ 12794519. http://meta.wkhealth.com/pt/pt-core/template-journal/lwwgateway/media/landingpage.htm?issn=1077-4114&volume=25&issue=6&spage=430.Â
^ Dingli D, Nowak MA (September 2006). "Cancer biology: infectious tumour cells". Nature 443 (7107): 35-6. doi:10.1038/443035a. PMCÂ 2711443. PMIDÂ 16957717. http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?tool=pmcentrez&artid=2711443.Â
30. ^ "Cancer Spread By Transplantation Extremely Rare: In Very Rare Case, Woman Develops Leukemia from Liver Transplant". http://www.cancer.org/docroot/NWS/content/NWS_1_1x_Cancer_Spread_By_Transplantation_Extremely_Rare.asp.Â [dead link]
^ "The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1980". http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/1980/presentation-speech.html.Â
^ Murgia C, Pritchard JK, Kim SY, Fassati A, Weiss RA (2006). "Clonal origin and evolution of a transmissible cancer". Cell 126 (3): 477-87. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2006.05.051. PMCÂ 2593932. PMIDÂ 16901782. http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?tool=pmcentrez&artid=2593932.
The primary role of the immune system is defensive and it is required to distinguish normal self- components from those of foreign invaders or pathogens. Tolerization is a complex process and loss of tolerance may lead to inappropriate activation of the immune system causing tissue destruction and autoimmune disease. Theoretically all tissues in the body should be equally frequent targets for autoimmune destruction but endocrine tissues appear more susceptible.
The factors that predispose to the development of autommunity are not completely understood but there is clearly a genetic association and the most clearly established is that of the genotype of the major histocompatability complex (MHC). This is a set of linked genes coding for glycoproteins through which monocytes/dendritic cells and B lymphocytes present antigens to receptor molecules on T cells (Box 1.15). In humans, the MHC is referred to as human leukocyte antigen (HLA) and the HLA region, located on the short arm of chromosome 6, contains at least 50 genes extending over 4 million base pairs.
Whilst genetic linkages in the HLA complex and autoimmune disease have been established, how they contribute to the pathogenesis of autoimmun-ity remains unknown. The strongest linkage has been with certain HLA-DQ Î²-chains (specifically the presence of aspartic acid at position 57). Since this is involved in the peptide binding cleft of the molecule it has been thought that it involves an error in antigen presentation. However, the exact mechanism remains uncertain.
The same can be said of the role of T and B cells in the pathogenesis of autoimmunity. T cells maturing in the thymus gland can certainly be deleted to prevent autoimmune disease (if they react too strongly to the MHC complex) and the same may be true of B cells. Whatever the mechanism of autoimmunity, there is no simple explanation of the sequence of events. Human autoimmune diseases only become clinically evident after considerable tissue damage or disruption has occurred and this makes it difficult to establish the course of pathogenesis and particularly its initiation. There are clearly familial traits of inheritance that can predispose to autoimmune disease, but the fact that only 30-50% of identical twins develop the same autoimmune disease suggests that other factors are involved, including those of the environment.
3rd April 2011
The term "malignancy" refers to cancerous cells that usually have the ability to spread, invade, and destroy tissue. Malignant cells tend to have fast, uncontrolled growth due to changes in their genetic makeup.
Malignant cells that are resistant to treatment may return after all detectable traces of them have been removed or destroyed.
Review Date: 11/10/2008
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and James R. Mason, MD, Oncologist, Director, Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program and Stem Cell Processing Lab, Scripps Clinic, Torrey Pines, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
8th April 2011
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Cancer immunology is the study of interactions between the immune system and cancer cells (also called tumors or malignancies). It is also a growing field of research that aims to discover innovative cancer immunotherapies to treat and retard progression of this disease. The immune response, including the recognition of cancer-specific antigens is of particular interest in this field as knowledge gained drives the development of new vaccines and antibody therapies. For instance in 2007, Ohtani published a paper finding tumour infiltrating lymphocytes to be quite significant in human colorectal cancer. The host was given a better chance at survival if the cancer tissue showed infiltration of inflammatory cells, in particular lymphocytic reactions. The results yielded suggest some extent of anti-tumour immunity is present in colorectal cancers in humans.
Over the past 10 years there has been notable progress and an accumulation of scientific evidence for the concept of cancer immunosurveillance and immunoediting based on (i) protection against development of spontaneous and chemically-induced tumors in animal systems and (ii) identification of targets for immune recognition of human cancer.
2.1 Elimination: Phase 1
2.2 Elimination: Phase 2
2.3 Elimination: Phase 3
2.4 Elimination: Phase 4
2.5 Equilibrium and Escape
3 Cancer Immunology and Chemotherapy
4 The role of viruses in cancer development