At the University of Michigan Health Rogel Cancer Center, some really smart scientists have made a big discovery about a problem with cancer treatment.
They found out why a powerful cancer treatment called immunotherapy sometimes makes people’s stomachs and intestines get really inflamed, a condition known as colitis. The best part?
They also figured out how to stop this from happening.
This important finding was shared in the famous Science journal. Dr. Gabriel Nunez, a big expert in this field, explained it like this: They first figured out what was causing the problem.
Then, they found a way to fix it so people could get the cancer-fighting benefits of immunotherapy without the painful side effect.
Immunotherapy is like a superhero in cancer treatment. It can fight different types of cancer really well. But sometimes, it can cause colitis.
This makes people feel really bad in their stomachs and intestines, and some even have to stop their cancer treatment because of it.
The puzzle was that this problem wasn’t happening in the lab mice, so the researchers couldn’t understand why it was happening to people. To solve this, a clever scientist named Bernard C. Lo and his team did something smart.
They put gut stuff from wild mice into the lab mice. Guess what? The lab mice started getting colitis too, just like people. Now the researchers could really dig into the problem.
They found out that colitis was happening because of the mix of tiny living things in the gut. This mix made the immune cells in the body go into overdrive, while the cells that usually calm them down weren’t doing their job.
This mess-up was happening because of a specific part of the immune checkpoint antibodies used in immunotherapy.
So, the researchers tried removing that tricky part of the antibody. And it worked! The mice still had a strong defense against cancer, but without getting colitis.
Dr. Nunez mentioned that before this, people thought certain bacteria might be linked to how well the treatment worked, but they weren’t sure.
Now, they know for sure that these tiny gut creatures are super important in causing colitis from this treatment.
To double-check their findings, they looked at data from human cells treated with the same kind of antibodies. And yes, it showed the same thing happening in humans as in mice.
A company named Takeda Pharmaceuticals developed the special antibody that stops colitis. The researchers at Rogel are excited to keep exploring how this all works.
They want to understand more about what causes colitis and work with doctors to test this new method in real patients.
If you care about cancer, please read studies about Catching the silent killer: a new study on esophageal cancer and findings of New trick knocks out tough guy prostate cancer.
For more information about cancer, please see recent studies about How to harness the power of anti-cancer foods and supplements and results showing that Empower your plate: cancer-fighting foods and recipes.
The research findings can be found in Science.
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