Read excerpts from this L.A. Times article about a possible new cancer breakthrough and see what you think:

Cancer research targets a key cell protein

The cell protein CD47 sits on the surface of tumor cells and fends off attacks from the immune system. Blocking its signals slows tumor growth in mice, researchers find.

By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times – March 27th, 2012

Blocking “don’t destroy me” signals that normally sit on the surface of tumor cells and render them resistant to immune-cell attack slows the growth of a broad range of human cancers when they’re implanted in mice, researchers have found.

The approach, reported by immunologists at the Stanford University School of Medicine, was effective against ovarian, breast, colon, bladder, liver, prostate and brain cancer cells. If the work can be repeated in people, the approach may someday help doctors marshal defender cells in patients’ own bodies to fight cancers, the researchers said.

Key to the work is a cell protein called CD47, which is already being investigated in the treatment of leukemia…

…Antibody treatment inhibited the growth of almost all of the solid tumors and was able to wipe out some smaller cancers altogether, according to the report, which was published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Even when it didn’t destroy a large tumor, Willingham said, the antibody prevented the cancer from spreading and wiped out metastases scattered through the body.

Apparently, the method didn’t always work.  But according to the article, “Researchers who were not involved in the study called it an important incremental step toward a novel cancer therapy.”

CLICK HERE if you would like to read the entire article.

I have read and written about CD47 before.  Exciting stuff!  But it is a long way from working with mice in a lab to successfully treating cancer in humans.  But most researchers agree that immunotherapy is the up-and-coming way to attack cancer.

This may be another hopeful example why.

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat


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