Researchers at the European Bioinformatics Institute and the Medical University of Vienna found evidence that B-cells may play an important role in immunotherapy of melanoma. Currently immunotherapy is mainly focused on T-cells, but the results indicate that B cells are also an interesting area of research.
Immunotherapy - is a form of cancer treatment that uses the body's own immune system to recognize and fight the disease in the form of cancer vaccines, targeted antibodies or viruses that infect tumor. However, not all cancer patients benefit from this therapy.
In the case of melanoma, which is a particularly aggressive form of skin cancer immunotherapy standard focuses on T-cells. T-cells play an important role in controlling and shaping the immune system, they are able to directly kill cancer cells, as well as to engage in the process and other cells.
A recent study published in Nature Communications, has shown that, along with T-cells, B-cells play an important role in causing inflammation associated with melanoma. B cells - a type of white blood cells, which can produce the antibody, along with several important molecules. Researchers have found that in the case of melanoma B-cells T cells directed to the tumor through the secretion of various molecules.
"Immunotherapy has changed the treatment of cancer - explains Johannes Griess, a researcher at the Medical University of Vienna. - It releases the T-cells, so that they can more effectively fight cancer. For the first time we have found that B-cells play an important role in this process and help T-cells are tumor. The role of B cells in immunotherapy remains poorly understood, but it appears that they may have a greater impact than previously thought. "
In the study, the researchers observed that the lack of B-kletkok in patients with melanoma, the number of T cells and other immune cells also decreased sharply. In subsequent experiments, the researchers showed that a particular subtype of B-cells appear to be responsible for the direction of T cells and other immune cells to the tumor.
Interestingly, the melanoma cells cause B cells to develop in this particular subtype of B-cells. Especially interesting is the fact that this particular subtype of B-cells also increase the impact of therapy on the immune T-cells, and a higher number of subtype B-cells in the tumor before treatment is an indication that the patient will respond better to subsequent immunotherapy. "To answer the question of how melanoma cells modified B-cells, and a mechanism of B-cells are used to support the activation of T-cells, further studies are needed," - concludes Griess.