Scientists have found a way to get leukemia cells to kill each other. In a recent study, by re-programming immature bone marrow cells into cells that act like antibodies, it was found that some of the cancer cells attacked other cancerous cells, destroying them.
Leukemia is a group of cancers that attacks human bone marrow. It results in an abnormally high number of white blood cells, and its cause is unknown, with some causes believed to be environmental and some inherited. Symptoms occur due to a lack of normal blood cells and can include bleeding and bruising problems, feeling tired, and experiencing fevers and an increased risk of infections.
In this most recent discovery, scientists from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) altered the biological programming of leukemia cells to get their groundbreaking result.
It’s reported that the researchers flooded a human blood sample rich in cancerous leukemia cells with a form of antibody, which transformed the leukemia cells into cells that resemble, and act like antibodies themselves. These newly transformed or re-programmed cancer cells attacked 15% of the non-transformed leukemia cells, destroying them as a natural killer in what is being called “fratricidin therapy” or fraticide- a condition wherein the cells target only their own cell type, in this case leukemia cells, and no other types of cancer.
Looking at a better future, it’s hoped that researchers will be able to transform a range of cancer cells into re-programmed cells that attack their own type. Yes, this would be a great future.