Some Tumors Trick The Body By Building An Outer Facade of Lymph Tissue

Courtesy of this article in Science Daily, there is word of a new article in Science that explains a trick some tumors use to avoid detection. The article abstract is here. In short, some tumors emit a protein that tricks the body into ignoring the tumor. See below for a more precise explanation. The chart to the left shows the outcome. Go here for a larger version of the image.

"The tumor tricks the body into thinking it is healthy tissue,” says lead author Melody Swartz, head of the Laboratory of Lymphatic and Cancer Bioengineering (LLCB) and EPFL professor. Swartz and her team set out to understand how immune tolerance is induced by tumors, allowing them to progress and spread. The researchers from EPFL concentrated their efforts on a certain protein that is normally present in healthy lymph nodes to attract T cells and program them to perform vital immune functions. They found that some tumors can secrete this protein to transform the outer layer of the tumor into lymphoid-like tissue. This outer layer then attracts and effectively re-programs the T cells to recognize the tumor as friend not foe, resulting in a tumor that goes undetected by the immune system.

Jacqueline D. Shields, Iraklis C. Kourtis, Alice A. Tomei, Joanna M. Roberts, Melody A. Swartz. Induction of Lymphoidlike Stroma and Immune Escape by Tumors That Express the Chemokine CCL21. Science, March 25, 2010 DOI: 10.1126/science.1185837

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Since becoming a lawyer in 1983, Kirk’s over 30 years of practice have focused on advising a wide range of corporations, associations, and individuals (as both plaintiffs and defendants) on both tort and commercial law issues centered around “mass torts.”

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