Immune system plays a part in shaping the evolution of tumours and driving selection of cells that evade detection
This is a specimen of surgically removed tumour, which had grown in a patient’s liver after metastasis from an original colorectal cancer site. The red and green colours identify an assortment of immune cells that have infiltrated the tumescent mass. Scientists are examining the way in which a person’s immune system interacts with tumours in an attempt to understand how it’s possible that certain cells escape immune detection and continue to grow, spread and colonise in a seemingly unchecked manner. New research indicates that in fact the immune system itself plays a part in shaping the evolution of tumours and driving selection of such evasive cells. With a fuller understanding of tumour-immune system interactions, and of how immune-evading metastatic cells develop, researchers hope to create better targeted therapies capable of tracking down and eliminating these metastatic menaces.
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