Cancer cells help solve transplant rejection

Many problems arising before scientists have already been successfully solved by nature itself - you just need to feel free to learn from its creations. One of these teachers was the worst enemy of man - cancer cells. Scientists from the University of Pittsburgh (USA) studied how cancer cells “crack” the immune system, and applied this method to solve the fundamental problem of transplant rejection.

The natural barrier to cancer cells is the body’s immune system, which acts in a very stereotyped way - it seeks to destroy everything that it considers alien, but does not touch cells that it considers to be “its own”. When a tumor forms, the cancer cells secrete the CCL22 protein, a marker that signals immune T-cells to mark these cells as “their own”. After that, almost nothing prevents them from growing calmly and moving around the body.

When transplanting donor tissues and organs, the same problem arises - the immune system attacks foreign cells. The scientists decided to simply copy the cancerous tumor method by adding synthetic capsules with CCL22 to the transplants. To their considerable surprise, already after the second series of injections, the immune system of the recipients began to completely ignore the transplanted tissue, which took root perfectly.

At the moment, the best result looks like this. Tissues, organs, and even entire paws that functioned normally without signs of rejection for 200 days were transplanted into experimental rats. This allows us to conclude that the effect is long-term, if not permanent. And it opens up tremendous opportunities in the field of transplantology, as well as cancer treatment - if we know the hacking mechanism, we can also develop countermeasures against it.

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