Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Medicine Science

Implant Raises Cellular Army To Attack Cancer 193

holy_calamity writes "New Scientist reports on a sneaky new approach to getting the immune system to fight cancer. An implant releases a 'molecular perfume' irresistible to messenger immune cells, which enter the implant where they are given a sample of the cancer's 'scent' and a disperse signal that sends them scurrying to the nearest lymph node. There they convince other immune cells to start attacking anything that matches the sample they picked up."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Implant Raises Cellular Army To Attack Cancer

Comments Filter:
  • uhhh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LilGuy ( 150110 ) on Monday January 12, 2009 @01:41PM (#26419531)

    this is pretty amazing to a layman such as myself..

  • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Monday January 12, 2009 @01:54PM (#26419785) Homepage

    The human immune system is a pretty potent beast to unleash. Getting it to attack cancer cells is genius. I would be worried about side effects, specifically the immune system getting confused or over-stimulated and attacking other things, but that's just speculation and surely for highly aggressive cancers like the ones they tested in the mice the risk would be more than worth it. We already use 'cures as bad as the disease' to treat cancer.

    On the same note, though, I was encouraged by the teaser at the end where they suggest using similar techniques to 'reprogram' the immune system to correct auto-immune disorders. Learning how to put the immune system back in its cage could be just as useful as being able to send it after a target.

  • by N1AK ( 864906 ) on Monday January 12, 2009 @01:58PM (#26419843) Homepage
    It would already be trivially easy to make bullets that contained a lethal toxin, the reason we don't do it isn't because of inability. Yes, you could misuse this research (just like any other advance) but it certainly wouldn't be the bio-weapon of choice due to sheer inefficiency and slowness of effect.
  • Re:uhhh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by realmolo ( 574068 ) on Monday January 12, 2009 @02:14PM (#26420103)

    "Say... your body just starts literally killing ALL cells... cancer and normal... "

    How do you think chemotherapy works? Or radiation therapy?

    Both treatments kill *all* cells. The idea is to kill the cancer cells *first*, before the treatment kills the patient.

  • Re:uhhh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Belial6 ( 794905 ) on Monday January 12, 2009 @02:36PM (#26420475)
    You jest, but if the negative effects of smoking were removed, then there should be no problem with it. Unfortunately, cancer isn't the only problem and possibly not the biggest problem caused by smoking.
  • Re:uhhh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gehrehmee ( 16338 ) on Monday January 12, 2009 @02:47PM (#26420635) Homepage

    Well, except for the whole, smelling like a walking ashtray, coughing up nasty flem, and annoying the hell out of everyone around you thing.

  • Re:uhhh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nimey ( 114278 ) on Monday January 12, 2009 @03:28PM (#26421355) Homepage Journal

    And the litter. Too many smokers are too lazy (or something) to use a damned ashtray and just flip their butts out into the world.

  • Re:uhhh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by b4upoo ( 166390 ) on Monday January 12, 2009 @03:37PM (#26421525)

    One joy of implants is that they can usually be removed if things are not going so well.
                That being said there will always be a few people who have very severe and unusual reactions to anything at all. A strawberry, a speck of fish oil, or a touch of tomato or peanut is enough to kill certain people. Very high tech. products are not different in that respect. Even the very best items will always be lethal to someone, somewhere. That does not imply that those products should not be freely used. Imagine a world in which no fish products or tomatos could ever be produced or sold. Even guns are like that. A few guns will always be misused just as cars are misused and kill people from time to time.

  • by malchus6 ( 870609 ) on Monday January 12, 2009 @03:42PM (#26421631)

    "You can imagine that if 99% of the cells in a tumor do have it, the tumor may be killed by the primed cells, but that 1% that doesn't will repopulate a while later".

    It seems this new treatment, if able to eliminate 99% of said tumor would work well in combination with current treatments like chemo and radiation where you could then use much lower doses to kill the remaining % with less harm to the patient.

  • by SatanicPuppy ( 611928 ) * <> on Monday January 12, 2009 @07:02PM (#26424573) Journal

    Doesn't usually work that way.

    The line response is usually a level of insane fury toward the other side which results in massive cases of prisoner abuse, and the strategic response is to develop terror weapons of their own.

    Atrocities tend not to break the will of the people they're perpetrated against, terrorist ideology to the contrary.

I am more bored than you could ever possibly be. Go back to work.