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Research team develops cancer-curing T-lymphocyte-based therapy to eradicate malignant tumours

Montreal, October 18, 2005 In a major research initiative funded by The Terry Fox Foundation, Claude Perreault, Canada Chair in Immunobiology at the Institute of

Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) of the Universit de Montral, has succeeded in developing a new approach to eradicate malignant melanoma tumours in mice. The findings of Dr. Perreault and his research team are reported in an article just published in the online edition of Nature Medicine, and soon to be published in the print edition of the publication.

In brief, the method developed by Perreault consists of administering T-lymphocytes cells whose function it is to recognize and destroy abnormal cells from a healthy mouse donor to mice with cancer. These lymphocytes are pre-immunized against a specific antigen (H7a) present in host mouse cancer cells. Although the target antigen is found in some of the host's healthy cells, the treatment does not cause any side effects because the anti-H7a lymphocytes cluster almost exclusively around the tumour site where they are attracted to the molecule VCAM-1 present on the blood vessels that irrigate the tumour. The T-lymphocytes produce interferon gamma and perforine/granzyme to eradicate cancerous cells.

"We are very pleased with the insights yielded to date from this research project which our team initiated in 2003, explains Dr. Perreault. Thanks to another five-year grant from the Canadian Cancer Society, we have moved on directly to explore the cancer-curing potential of this immunotherapeutic method in the treatment of human melanoma. We may be only a few years away from testing the application on human beings. The prospect of this work leading to the development of an effective, nontoxic and non-invasive therapy against certain types of cancer for broad clinical use is exciting for every basic research students, scientist and doctors working on this project."

"Malignant melanoma is a devastating disease, aff
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Contact: Marc Tulin
marc.tulin@umontreal.ca
514-343-7593
University of Montreal
18-Oct-2005


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