Jun 03, 2013
By Jane Brown
An experimental new approach to fighting melanoma is giving Canadian researchers hope that it could be used against other cancers as well.
The new method uses medications that trigger the body’s immune system, allowing it to fight the cancer on its own.
The therapies work to disable a key protein called “programmed death 1,” or “PD-1.”
The protein, emitted by tumours, allows cancer to evade the immune system’s killer T cells.
But once the new drugs shut PD-1 down, the T cells recognize the cancer and begin to multiply and attack it.
Doctor Marcus Butler, an oncologist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto, was among those involved in the study.