|New prospects for improved methods of treatment of virus infections and cancer |
by Mary Carter
Published 10/6/2008 in Research
Granzymes going about their deadly work. A killer cell makes contact
Pores open the door to death
Scientists settle the question as to how our immune defences enter and attack its own cells when they fall prey to viruses and tumour cells
Our body is almost constantly being threatened by pathogens and cancerous cells that appear out of the blue. But the body puts up a fight: specialized cells in the immune system smuggle small molecules (granzymes) into cancer cells and those body cells that have fallen prey to viruses. The molecules then trigger off the diseased cells’ built-in suicide program. There are two possible ways in which the granzymes gain entry into the cells under attack. Despite more than twenty years of research, however, it remained unclear as to which of these pathways is used to smuggle the lethal amount of granzymes into a cell. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology have now shown that minute pores on the cell surface open the door to the granzymes for a short period of time. These results provide new prospects for improved methods of treatment of chronic virus infections and cancer. (PNAS, 2. September 2008)
Not unlike the pores created by Inovio-VGX in their vaccine/cancer work that facilitate the introduction of DNA vaccines or a useful biopharmaceutical into electrically stimulated cells (electroporation) thereby forming the open pore passageways!