Experiments in mice and human cells have shown that the protein promotes the proliferation of cytotoxic T cells, which kill cancer cells and cells infected with viruses."Cancer cells have ways to suppress T cell activity, helping them to escape the immune system," said lead researcher professor Philip Ashton-Rickardt from Imperial College London.

Cytotoxic T cells are an important component of the immune system, but when faced with serious infections or advanced cancer, they are often unable to proliferate in large enough quantities to fight the disease.By screening mice with genetic mutations, the Imperial team discovered a strain of mice that produced 10 times as many cytotoxic T cells when infected with a virus compared with normal mice.

These mice suppressed the infection more effectively, and were more resistant to cancer.They also produced more of a second type of T cells, memory cells, enabling them to recognise infections they have encountered previously and launch a rapid response.

Latest News from Lifestyle News Desk