Two months ago, Dr Irv Weissman discovered a cure for cancer. Weissman developed an antibody that actively destroys cancer cells without also attacking normal human cells. Up until this point, medical scientists were tasked not with finding ways to cure cancer, but finding ways to kill cancer cells without also harming the near-identical surrounding healthy cells. Dr. Weissman found that cure, and he is quickly moving it through the necessary channels towards the market. If this miracle antibody continues to pass trials like it has, we will have a cure for cancer by 2020.
The antibody works by inhibiting a protein called CD47. CD47 is the protein responsible for identifying good and bad cells in the body. CD47 mistakenly identifies cancerous cells as “healthy,” and thus alerts the body not to attack them. The newly created antibody inhibits CD47 proteins across the body. The result is that immune cells called macrophages are no longer suppressed by CD47’s signal. These macrophages are able to spot cancerous cells, and can then signal cancer-fighting CD8+ T “Killer T” cells to target cancerous cells and destroy them.
Basically, this new antibody shuts down the ineffective CD47 and allows superior microphages to patrol the body instead. These microphages do spot the cancerous cells. What researchers did not expect - and what makes this new system so revolutionary - is that microphages would not only spot the cancer, but also signal Killer-T cells to destroy the cancerous cells.
Doctors have never been able to find an external cure for cancer. Thus, it is fitting that this cure starts with an antibody injection, but still tasks the cancer patient’s own immune system to kill off the tumorous cells. These Killer-T cells can kill cancer all over the body. Just like that, cancer could be wiped off the map.
The next step for the antibody is a small human trial in 2014. The trial is already massively overbooked by thousands of cancer patients looking for the miracle cure that for so long seemed impossible. If the 2014 trial is a success, this cancer cure will no doubt stay on the fast track to the medical market.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Creative Commons, Tdvorak