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New Discovery by Tel Aviv University could Generate Novel Approaches to Cancer Immunotherapy

Eosinophils are a type of white blood cells and part of the immune system that, when functioning normally, help fight disease and infection. However, having too many activated eosinophils may contribute to disease pathology and the self-perpetuating cycle of inflammation and damage across a range of debilitating diseases.

Made in the bone marrow, they flow through the bloodstream to fight viruses, bacteria and other foreign invaders that threaten your health. When your body is in distress and a particular area is under attack, white blood cells rush in to help destroy the harmful substance and prevent illness.

However, researchers at Tel Aviv University (TAU) have discovered a role for eosinophils that was not known. The destructive properties of proteins in these cells in the blood can be used to kill cancer cells. They can destroy the cancer cells directly, as well as recruit the immune system’s cancer-fighting T-cells.

The new study found that eosinophils help fight the battle against cancer metastases in the lungs. The researchers believe that their findings can contribute to the development of innovative approaches to cancer immunotherapy treatments, based upon the collaboration between T-cells and eosinophils.

The study was led by Prof. Ariel Munitz and doctoral student Sharon Grisaru of the Department of Microbiology and Clinical Immunology at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine. The paper was published under the title “Metastasis-entrained eosinophils enhance lymphocyte-mediated anti-tumor immunity” in Cancer Research, a prestigious journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

The researchers explained the white blood cells in the immune system produce powerful destructive proteins that were originally intended for fighting parasites. However, in the modern Western world, where high levels of hygiene have significantly reduced the menace of parasites, eosinophils often have a negative impact on humans, inducing medical problems like allergies and asthma.

The researchers first examined human cancer tissues – biopsies from lung metastases taken from breast cancer patients. They found that the eosinophils reach the lungs and penetrate the cancer tissues, where they often release the destructive proteins that they carry. (I365 / VFI News)

“O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.” - Psalm 30:2