Posts tagged ‘immune system’

A research study published in the journal ‘Nature’ on the 31st of October discloses the mechanism by which a protein known as perforin can act as an assassin of the rogue cells within our body.

Prof James Whisstock attached with the Monash University led the team of researchers from London and Melbourne. He stated that perforin acted as the weapon of our body for cleansing itself.

The mechanism is initiated when the protein finds its way into those cells that have been infected by the viruses or have turned carcinogenic. Toxic enzymes are then unleashed within the cells which kills them off.  Our immune system would have been woefully inadequate without perforin, he continued. He also stated that the understanding of its mechanism will now help the researchers and doctors to fine tune it properly in order to fight against life threatening diseases like cancer, diabetes and malaria.

The researchers had collaborated together for a period of ten years for uncovering the molecular structure and primary functions of perforin, the protein in question. The structure of the molecule was finally revealed by using the Australian Synchrotron along with the extremely powerful electron microscope at the Birkbeck College, London.

The study results show that parts of the molecular structure of perforin is strikingly similar to the toxins produced by anthrax, listeria and streptococci bacilli.

The chief of the Cancer Immunology Program at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne states that the results obtained from mouse studies point to the fact that a defective perforin might lead to an increase of malignancy particularly blood related deformities like leukemia.

Source: Public Release by Science in Public  on 31st October 2010

http://www.scienceinpublic.com/blog/embargoed/perforin

Seattle Genetics Inc. announced that its two drug therapy system can actually reduce the size of a Hodgkin’s lymphoma by half in about 75% of the patients. Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a carcinoma affecting the  immune system of our body.  The drug had been developed jointly with Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.

Clay Siegall, the CEO and president of Bothell, the Washington based Seattle Genetics, stated that a total of 102 people with advanced lymphoma had been put on trial. None of them had responded to any of the previous methods of treatment for the condition. The benefits of this particular therapy lasted for more than six months however, concluded Siegal.

The drug, known as SGN-35, makes use of an antibody which attacks the cancer cells with a host of cancer killing agents. Seattle Genetics Inc. now plans on applying to the U.S .Food and Drug Administration for approval during the first half of next year. Obtaining an approval would be a watershed in its own way as it would initiate a new era of drugs which combines both antibodies as well as anti carcinogenic agents observed Jason Kantor, an analyst of the RBC capital markets based in San Francisco. The results had exceeded the expectation, Kantor added further.

Brentuximab Vedotin happens to be another name for  the drug which will be designed to recognize the receptors on the surface of an onco cell. The presence of the receptor is minimal in a healthy cell or may be entirely absent all together. A special drug linked with the antibody in question then kills off  the cell by putting a stop to cell division and thereby, growth.

Siegall revealed that the drug would help in eliminating the cancerous cells without having any appreciable effect on the normal and healthy tissue. The side effects of the drug are not severe either, said the Seattle Genetics spokesperson. The rate of side effects was not disclosed by the company. Fatigue, a decrease in WBC count, nausea and peripheral neuropathy have been found to be associated with the use of the drug.

Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-09-27/seattle-genetics-takeda-drug-shrinks-lymphoma-patients-tumors-in-study.html