“Proteins are the workhorses of
the cell.” This is, no doubt, an
authentic statement about proteins. From their discovery up to now these are
believed to be the main biomolecule for maintaining all regulatory and
structural activities of the body. Scientists are working from years in order
to explore new proteins and this passion always leads them to new discoveries
and innovations. Millions of proteins have been discovered, performing
tremendous functions inside human body.
In a recent research, investigators from
Imperial College, UK, have discovered an incredible novel protein named as LEM Protein, Lymphocyte Expansion Molecule that
boosts body’s own immune system to fight against cancer in such a way that was
not possible in past.
Said: by the lead
investigator, Professor Philip Ashton-Richard, Department of medicine at
Imperial College, UK.
“This is a
completely unknown protein.
Nobody had ever seen it before or was even
aware that it existed.
It looks and acts like no other protein.”
When scientists were doing research on mice with genetic
mutation (cancer), they found a strain of mice that produces Cytotoxic T-cells 10 times more than
normal mice, when it was infected.
strains not only suppressed the infection more effectively but were also more
resistant to cancer. They were also
involved in the production of another type of T-cells named memory cells, which recognize the
infections they had encountered earlier and produce rapid response.
T cells are the part of our immune system, which kills
cells that have become cancerous or infected with germs. When cancer cells are
in low concentration inside body, immune system responds by sending T cells to
cancerous location, so that T cells kill them.
But as we know that the reproduction rate of cancerous cell is much
higher than normal cells, so due to their rapid reproduction rate, immune
system becomes incapable of releasing new T cells at same rate. It becomes
difficult for T cells to kill cancerous cells.
mice with increased immunity set off high level of protein named as LEM- Lymphocyte expansion molecule. The experiments performed on mice showed that
this protein make a rapid increase in
number of T-cells, which kill cancerous cells. Hence, make mice resistant
discovery was quite unpredicted because this new protein had no resemblance to
any protein moreover its function was also unknown.
If all goes well,
We hope to be ready to carry out human trials
in about three years.
(Department of Medicine)
By the discovery of LEM, the researchers now aim to
develop a gene therapy that can help in treatment of cancer. Gene therapy will
be designed in such a way that it can improve the immune system of cancer
patient by increasing the rate of T cells production in patients with cancer by
injecting LEM protein gene, that will ultimately help immune
system to fight against cancer.
If we succeed in developing this gene therapy,
this LEM protein will eradicate the use of harsh treatment methods of cancer
treatment like chemotherapy; which
kills healthy cells along with cancerous cells. Such treatments just let us
time, but are not proper cure of cancer.
Claudio Mauro, who led the research from the Centre for Biochemical
Pharmacology, based within Queen Mary University of London’s William Harvey
Research Institute, said:
“Its benefits are far
more as it can help in explaining the biological mechanisms of widespread human
diseases involving altered immune and inflammatory responses. These include
chronic inflammatory and autoimmune disorders, such as atherosclerosis and
Sarah (16 April 2015). “Scientists find key to ‘turbo-charging’
immune system to kill all cancers”. Telegraph.co.uk. the Telegraph. Retrieved 8
at al. (April 2015). “The protein LEM promotes CD8+ T cell immunity
through effects on mitochondria respiration”. Doi:10.1126/science.aaa7516.
Unknown Protein Boosts Immunity to Cancer and Viruses. 2015
‘Game-changing’ new way to fight cancer discovered