Killer T cells surround a cancer cell. Image credit: NIH Image Gallery / Flickr
Killer T cells surround a cancer cell. Image credit: NIH Image Gallery / Flickr

Cancer cells that are reprogrammed to become killer cells that particular kill cancer cells, may certainly sound like science fiction.

But now an American research team has found a way to make leukemia cancer cells to kill their own kind.

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It is an exciting method, but above all, it is exciting finding, he says of the study.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia is one of the most common types of leukemia in adults. It implies that a specific kind of white blood cells is sick.

And this is precisely these cells that the researchers have now managed to reprogram, into cancer cells that kill cancer cells.

They managed to do so using a very specific antibody, a type of protein that is a natural part of the immune system.

It all works to a very specific antibody, a type of protein that is a natural part of the immune system, attach the Leukemia cell surface. It then triggers a series of chemical signals that cause the cell, to rather than continue to be a cancer cell, to instead develop into a so-called ‘natural killer cell’, an NK cell, which kills the adjacent leukemia cells by piercing them.

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The medical trials have only been done at the cellular level so much more research and testing remains until it could become a new cancer therapy.

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Kyungmoo Yea, et al, 2015. Agonist Antibody That induces human malignant cell to kill one another. PNAS. Doi: 10.1073 / pnas.1519079112
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