He looked at human cells from breast cancer, colon cancer and melanoma and found the same phenomenon. But leukemia and glioblastoma, deadly types of brain cancer, do not form cellular structures within cells.
Perhaps, Dr. Carmi reasoned, could stop cancer cells from hiding. He decided to examine the genes involved in this defense mechanism. He found that blocking those genes also blocked the ability of T cells to attack tumors.
“I realized this was the limit of what the immune system could do,” Dr. “Our immune system can’t win.”
Others, while fascinated by the discovery, said that many questions remained.
“It’s certainly an interesting paper with some,” said Dr. Michel Sadelain, an immunologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where he heads the center’s gene expression and transduction laboratory. Powerful and engaging observations. But, he asked, how relevant is this finding in disabling immunotherapy in the real world?
Dr Marcela Maus, director of the cellular immunotherapy program at the Center for Mass Cancer, said the discovery shows what could be a new cancer cell defense mechanism.
“We have seen that tumors can hide from the immune system, including a type of immune cell ‘impersonating’, but I don’t think we’ve ever seen tumor cells lurking inside. in each other.” However, she added, “I think it needs to be scaled up to gain full traction.”
Dr Jedd Wolchok, director of the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medicine, had a similar reaction.