cancer immunotherapy

Harvard researchers have revealed a discovery that could revolutionize immunotherapy against cancer. A team at Harvard Medical School discovered that a molecule produced by bacteria streptococcus pyogenesThe drug responsible for strep throat and other infections may play an important role in the treatment of cancer.

The study, published in Journal of the American Chemical Society, Turns out that this molecule, known as cardiolipin, triggers an immune response in the body. This challenges the long-held belief that the immune system ignores this bacterial molecule.


More than 100 years ago, surgeon William Colley revealed that patients with untreatable cancers could become infected S. pyogenesis or other bacterial strains, known as “”coli poison“Sometimes he would cure his illness. However, many of his colleagues did not believe these results and his methods were marginalized with the advent of radiation and chemotherapy.

Coley’s reputation was restored with the advent of modern immunological cancer therapy, which uses the immune system to fight tumors. However, until now, no one had discovered what made Coley’s original treatments work.

John Clardy, Ph.D. Team led by. By Christopher T. Walsh. Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at HMS’s Blavatnik Institute and his colleagues found the answer using an immune activation test. This test identifies bacterial molecules that stimulate immune responses in cell cultures obtained from the bone marrow of mice. of all molecules S. pyogenesisOnly one was effective: a simple fatty molecule known as cardiolipinPresent in the cell membrane, the team named it SpCL-1.

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The discovery marks the first time that researchers have implicated a cardiolipin Bacteria in human immune responses. This contradicts the widespread belief that simple membrane lipids, e.g. cardiolipins The bacteria mentioned in this article are not immunogenic. This result challenges that established belief and opens up new possibilities in immunological research.

Researchers found that cardiolipin It can be recognized by the immune system and trigger an inflammatory response. This may explain why Streptococcus sometimes causes serious immune complications, such as rheumatic fever, and how identification of this molecule may contribute to autoimmune diseases such as lupus.

Clardy said: “Our work provides an answer to the mystery of why, in some of these poorly understood autoimmune diseases, the body develops an immune response to self-antigens: why it attacks itself.”

cardiolipinimmune response against cancer

Furthermore, studies show that cardiolipin It may have a role in the field of cancer immunotherapy. Researchers found that this molecule binds to receptors on immune system cells, triggering the release of an inflammatory molecule called tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha). This opens the door to new strategies to stimulate immune responses against cancer.

These findings could have important implications for the development of more effective immunotherapeutic treatments for cancer. They may also help understand why immune therapies do not work in all patients, as previous studies have shown that the gut microbiome plays a key role in the effectiveness of these treatments. cardiolipins Bacteria may be an important part of this puzzle.

There is still much to be investigated, however, this discovery provides new hope in the fight against cancer and opens new avenues of research in the field of immunotherapy. Researchers hope that this bacterial molecule, along with other immune therapies, could lead to more effective and personalized treatments to combat this devastating disease.

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