MadSci Network: Medicine

Re: Cancer and Immuneresponse

Area: Medicine
Posted By: Rolf Marteijn, Grad Student, dept of Foodscience -> Bioprocesengineering and dept. of Virology, Wageningen Agricultural University
Date: Sat May 31 19:41:20 1997
Area of science: Medicine
ID: 863241799.Me


First of all, I changed the subject, cause antibiotics have nothing to do with the question. Cancer is a disease in which normal cells develop into malign tumors. This can be cause by infection with certain viruses, exposure to UV-light, carcinogens (cancer inducing chemicals) or just spontanously. All kinds of cancer are quite different, but I'll try to keep it simple.

As you may have heard, you can't just transplant organs from one person to another person, cause the immunesystem of the receiver will try to destroy the new organ. To solve this problem in transplantations, people that 'match' will be found to donate/recieve the organ and the receiver will get treatment with strong drugs to stop his immunesystem from rejecting the new organ and get accustomed to it.

The same thing happens when one persons cancer cells are injected in the person B. Person B will produce a immunerespons to kill the cancer cells of person A, just because they are from person A, not specifically because they are cancercells. If the antibodies from person B would be injected in person A, all the cells of person A would be 'attacked', resulting in death. \ This can be compared with a wrong bloodtransfusion. However, if the virus would be caused by a virus, person B could also be infected and develop a cancer.

There are however ways to produce antibodies (eg in mice or in cellculture with human cells) and select out the ones that are specifically aimed at the cancer cells and not against the normal, healthy cells. Unfortunatly, most cancer cells look almost the same as normal cells, at least for the immunesystem. Some other cancer cells have even found ways to hide the fact they are cancercells and are considered healthy...

Nevertheless, there are many projects going on to find cancercell-specific antigens. However, every cancer/tumor and maybe even every patient may require new studies.

Some more info can be found on this site, where they have found some of these cancerspecific antigens:


Current Queue | Current Queue for Medicine | Medicine archives

Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Medicine.

MadSci Home | Information | Search | Random Knowledge Generator | MadSci Archives | Mad Library | MAD Labs | MAD FAQs | Ask a ? | Join Us! | Help Support MadSci

MadSci Network
© 1997, Washington University Medical School