Most drugs are developed on the basis of tumor-specific antigens (TSA). And their search begins with the study of peptides derived from protein-coding exons. However, as it was found out by a group of researchers from Canada, such peptides can be found in our body and their source is the “junk” DNA-the part of the molecule that is considered to be “not involved” in the processes of life.
First, let’s understand how anti-tumor immunotherapy works. The fact that our immune system is designed in such a way that in theory he himself can destroy cancer cells and even does it successfully, because changes in cells occur constantly. But sometimes something “breaks”and immune cells cease to notice cancer cells, taking them for normal. In this case, the cells of the immune system need help and make them active again against tumors. And recognition is due to histocompatibility complexes on the cell surface. These complexes consist of peptides. It is these peptides and need to” feed ” the immune system, so he began to fight again. And these peptides helped to find the “garbage” DNA
According to the editorial Board of the journal Science Translational Medicine, behind the development is a team from the University of Montreal led by Dr. Celine Lemont. Scientists have sequenced the entire DNA and RNA of the two lines of cancer cells. After that, they began searching for peptides. As a result, 14 and 7 (for each of the lines, respectively) potential candidates for the vaccine were identified. At the same time, most of them were obtained from the “garbage” region of the molecule.
Further, the effectiveness of peptides was tested on laboratory mice suffering from cancer. As a result, 3 out of 5 selected peptides showed very good results and significantly extended the life of animals. Moreover, in the study of seven other lines of cancer cells, 22 more complexes were found, which can also be used. The new technique (if it proves its effectiveness in the long term) can be a good way to treat and prevent tumor diseases.