START 5 News 5 A new discovery involving cytotoxic T cells in human cancer therapy

A new discovery involving cytotoxic T cells in human cancer therapy

24 April, 2022

Recent research proves that T cells can hunt and kill cancer cells by overloading them with toxic weapons.

Cytotoxic T lymphocytes are part of our immune system. White blood cells recognize and eliminate threats, including cancer cells and cells infected with invasive viruses such as SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19. The ability to kill target cells is strictly regulated and depends on the stimulation of the appropriate receptors.

The discovery of Professor Gillian Griffiths (CIMR) and Dr. Julien Prudent (MBU) groups is a breakthrough in the treatment of cancer. The study shows that billions of T cells are sent by the immune system to “fight” cancer cells. Each works like a trained killer – it binds to a cancer cell and then releases a toxic load. But that’s not all. New research shows that cells kill and then reload their weapons to kill again.


Weapon replenishment is possible thanks to mitochondria which is the powerhouse of the cell. Mitochondria not only provide the cell with energy – they also regulate the rate of killing to the rate of producing new proteins in such a way that the cargo does not damage the T cells themselves. In this way, T cells can work effectively under harsh conditions.


This study improves the efficiency of the design of cytotoxic T cells to serially kill cancer cells.


Such studies are complex and require state of the art facilities. In EBI our animal facility is equipped to handle work needed to achieve groundbreaking discoveries!

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