Immune cell which kills most cancers discovered in major breakthrough

Author
Newstalk ZB ,
Publish Date
Wed, 22 Jan 2020, 2:15PM
The immune cells make a beeline for most cancers. (Photo / Getty)

Immune cell which kills most cancers discovered in major breakthrough

Author
Newstalk ZB ,
Publish Date
Wed, 22 Jan 2020, 2:15PM

UK scientists may have stumbled across a cancer breakthrough.

They have found a new type of immune cell which kills most cancers – including lung, blood, breast and prostate – while ignoring healthy cells.

It could help a broad range of patients, which the researcher has said is highly unusual.

"This was a serendipitous finding, nobody knew this cell existed," Professor Andrew Sewell, lead author on the study, told The Daily Telegraph.

"Our finding raises the prospect of a 'one-size-fits-all' cancer treatment, a single type of T-cell that could be capable of destroying many different types of cancers across the population. Previously nobody believed this could be possible."

Otago University immunologist Sarah Young told Mike Hosking that this is a major breakthrough and is very welcome as cancer remains a big killer of people. 

"What we don't have is very specific therapies that we can give to all of the population," she says, noting treatments such as chemotherapy work but have serious side effects.