NK Cells & Brain Tumors: Immune cells attack Therapeutic Viruses
We have natural guard system inside us, such as our immune system, which on one hand protect us, while on other hand hinder us too according to a research of Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center. Their findings were published in the journal of Nature Medicine.
They did some researches on mice model regarding to lethal and fast growing tumors, for example glioblastoma with which people usually have only 12 months to go in an average situation. With the deadly cancer, scientists and people concern much and pay much attention.
Ohio doctors designed a therapeutic virus used to against some tumors which showed safety in some clinical trials. But when they did this research, they found the immune system, such as the NK cells, tries to eliminate the anticancer virus thus the therapeutic virus didn’t work as expected and designed. To find out the reason, they did more related studies used an oncolytic herpes simplex virus, human glioblastoma tumor tissue and mouse models, one of which hosted both human glioblastoma cells and human NK cells. They found the NK cells attack the viruses when they express specific molecules on their surface called NKp30 and NKp46. These receptor molecules enable the NK cells to recognize and destroy the anticancer viruses before the viruses can destroy the tumor. Thus researchers used some immune intervention method by blocking those receptors finding the virus has more time to work and mice with these brain tumors live longer. In the trials, they noticed substantial numbers of immune cells in brain tumors after treatment.
Dr. E. Antonio Chiocca noticed that so he asked to go back to the laboratory and results showed that NK cells rapidly infiltrate tumors in mice that have been treated with the therapeutic virus. These NK cells also signal other inflammatory cells to come in and destroy the cancer-killing virus in the tumor.
This study of cancer-cell-killing, or oncolytic, viruses is an example of the value of translational research, in which a problem observed during clinical trials is studied in the laboratory to devise a solution.
Their next goal is to block these molecules on NK cells in glioblastoma patients and see if the outcome can be improved.
This research was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, NCI and the National Center for Research Resources and others.