Perfect Cure for Cancer Found In Mice
Dr. Cui and his team had serendipitously discovered a single mouse that was completely immune to cancer. To determine if the immunity was genetic, they bred the mouse. Over 40% of its offspring inherited the same cancer immunity. Somehow, the immune systems of the mice were perfect cancer killers. They tried multiple cancers on the newly bred mice. A myriad of cancer strains, locations and severity were introduced in an attempt to find some form of cancer the mice couldn't defeat, but the mice were having none of it. The white blood cells of the mice would hunt down and destroy any instance of cancer by surrounding the tumor cells and causing them to rupture. The researchers now believe that there are specific family lines of mice that are genetically invulnerable to cancer.
That is only the beginning of this remarkable story. In 2003 Dr. Cui along with Dr. Mark Willingham explored what effect the white blood cells of the cancer beating mice would have in normal mice. They gave aggressive cancers and massive tumors to scores of ordinary mice, and then injected them with white blood cells from their immune cousins. All of the mice were completely cured. Monstrous tumors disappeared over night, system wide cancers vanished. And interestingly, the mice, one cured, were then immune to any further introduced cancers. Their own white blood cells now behave as cancer killers. They have since developed a test for cancer immunity. By simply placing white blood cells in a controlled environment with cancer cells, the blood cells will attack and destroy the tumor. But the researcher's work is just beginning.
In order to allow other scientists to verify their findings, Cui's team began a breeding program. Initialy, replication of these findings outside the lab were not possible, as scientists were limited to working with a small number of mice that are the direct descendants of the original cancer killing mouse. However, since then they have bred over 3000 mice and have already begun giving them out to other labs across the country, including the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA, the University of Michigan and Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Cui doubts that it will take much time for outside researchers to make a verification. "It's rather simple to show whether we are right. Give them the white blood cells, and they are either dead or alive. A live mouse is a live mouse."
But a human application for this find might still be years away. Scientists are faced with the very difficult task of locating the particular genes that transmit this trait from parent to offspring. And it is unknown whether that same gene will be prevalent in humans. They also hope to understand the molecular process that makes the white blood cells such perfect cancer killers. So that even if no genetic solution is found, they can find a way to mimic the behavior using drug treatments. They may even be able to "boost" existing human white blood cells, turning them into cancer killers. It may be some time before any non mice can reap the benefits of this discovery, but this is by far the most comprehensive and effective cancer cure that has ever been seen.
It has been noted that there are some people that have a seeming immunity to cancer. I think it might be time to start mass testing blood donor's white cells to see if there are any humans that have this same super white cell trait. And from there a comprehensive genetic analysis of anyone that has this could find the genes they have in common. It would take a whole infrastructure and lots of DNA number crunching, but eventually we just might zero in on our own anti-cancer gene, and put this terrible disease to bed once and for all. White blood cells could be cloned with the new gene in place and anyone could have any cancer cured, despite it's severity, with a single shot in the arm. Some one tell the fat lady to start warming up for her solo. [via LA Times. More info Here]
“Synergy and serendipity often play a big part in medical and scientific advances.” - Julie Bishop