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Cytotoxic T-Cells Specifically Target Cancer Cells for Destruction

Thanks to generous funding from the Wellcome Trust, researchers at the University of Cambridge have captured microscopic video of t-cells seeking out and eliminating cancer cells.

According to lead researcher Prof. Gillian Griffiths, FRS, Director of the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, “These cells patrol our bodies, identifying and destroying virally infected and cancer[ous] cells and they do so with remarkable precision and efficiency.”

“When a cytotoxic T-cell finds an infected cell or, in the case of the film, a cancer cell (blue), membrane protrusions rapidly explore the surface of the cell, checking for tell-tale signs that this is an uninvited guest. The T-cell binds to the cancer cell and injects poisonous proteins known as cytotoxins (red) down special pathways called microtubules to the interface between the T-cell and the cancer cell, before puncturing the surface of the cancer cell and delivering its deadly cargo.” (Ritter, et al)

Click here to read the research summary from the University of Cambridge.

Click here to read the full report in the Immunity Journal.