- The cells naturally occur in the body in small numbers
- But it’s hoped injecting huge quantities back into a patient could turbo-charge the immune system
- Japanese researchers say the development paves the way for the new cancer and HIV treatments
Scientists have created cells capable of killing cancer for the first time.
The dramatic breakthrough was made by researchers in Japan who created cancer-specific killer T cells.
They say the development paves the way for the cells being directly injected into cancer patients for therapy.
The cells naturally occur in small numbers, but it is hoped injecting huge quantities back into a patient could turbo-charge the immune system.
Researchers at the RIKEN Research Centre for Allergy and Immunology revealed they have succeeded for the first time in creating cancer-specific, immune system cells called killer T lymphocytes.
To create these, the team first had to reprogramme T lymphocytes specialised in killing a certain type of cancer, into another type of cell called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells).
These iPS cells then generated fully active, cancer-specific T lymphocytes.