Dendritic Cells and their Important Role in Immunotherapy

The COVID-19 pandemic has put many countries in the world under a strict lockdown, and the global healthcare system on its back leg. With so many resources pouring into the treatment and care of COVID patients across the globe and so much media coverage surrounding the pandemic, there seems to be little room for talk about the most feared ailments that affect millions of people every day. The fight to end cancer has been a long one thus far, and there doesn’t seem to be an end to the struggle in sight.
However, many promising pieces of research are in constant development, and scientists around the world are hard at work to find a cure for the hundreds of malignant diseases that currently exist. In this struggle to finally find a cure for various cancers, we turn our attention to the promising concept of using dendritic cells to form a new type of immunotherapy and cancer treatment.
While still in its early stages, research surrounding dendritic cells is promising and more teams from eminent universities are nowadays turning their attention to the developments in this field. Today, we’ll be taking a closer look at the promising work surrounding dendritic cells in an attempt to uncover just how dendritic cell treatment may one day soon bring us closer to victory over cancer.
Explaining the nature of dendritic cells
Immunotherapy has long been one of the most promising treatment options for a variety of ailments, including cancer, and both active and suppressive immunotherapy is nowadays used in the treatment of malignant tumors and cancers of various kinds. What you might not have known is that your immune system can play a vital role in the fight against cancer and that dendritic cells are essential in its activation, suppression, and manipulation, in general, that will lead to the desired outcome.
These cells are responsible for creating antigens in your body and delivering it to your immune system in order to stimulate the body’s natural defense mechanisms to find and eliminate cancerous, or overly mutated cells. While traditional cancer therapy involving chemotherapy invariably leaves negative side effects and can be significantly detrimental to the patient’s health, immunotherapy serves as a healthy alternative and using dendritic cells to activate the immune system in this fight may be crucial.
Dendritic cells as a potential cancer treatment
Scientific innovation, particularly in the field of cancer treatment, is a slow and arduous process, and it’s important to note that immunotherapy is still a new field of study in many respects – one that is yet to reveal the full potential of the immune system in battling these ailments. The majority of the scientific community agrees that research into dendritic cells is still in its infancy and that its true potential is yet to be discovered over time.
Nevertheless, there is no denying anymore that dendritic cells can at the very least hinder the growth of cancerous cells and keep cancer from spreading so that proper, tried-and-tested treatments can be applied to greater effect. This is one of the key reasons why targeted treatment with dendritic cells is increasingly subject to research around the world and in the leading research teams at eminent universities.
Leading research for immunotherapy and possible vaccines
Research teams looking into various cancer treatments are many, but one team from the CityU University of Hong Kong has been stirring the scientific pot since last year. A young scholar’s research on the rare plasmacytoid dendritic cells is now shedding more light on the matter and showing us how using these cells in immunotherapy may be the way forward in cancer treatment in general.
Dr. Chow Kwan Ting, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and her team have been focusing on liver and breast cancer treatment where the concentration of dendritic cells tends to be the highest. By investigating the gene network in these immune pathways, the team has observed that these rare cells might have an important role to play in the next generation of cancer-fighting immunotherapy.
Her research shows that plasmacytoid dendritic cells are found within tumors and that activating them appears to elevate the survival rate in test animals and certain types of cancers.
Using dendritic cells for boosting immunotherapy treatment
The human body is “programmed” to fight off ailments naturally, as is the primary function of the immune system. It is therefore natural to assume that by activating and manipulating the immune system we can enhance its abilities and help it spot malignant illnesses immediately. 
The immune system functions primarily by eliminating the cells that are misbehaving, which it is unable to do when the mutated cancerous cell hijacks the immune system and makes a cell appear normal. This is why cancer is so dangerous, and why activating these rare cells using immunotherapy can be the key we are looking for. 
Wrapping up
Research into cancer treatment is ongoing around the world. Just last year, Australia has been able to eradicate cervical cancer using the HPV vaccine. These are the type of innovations and breakthroughs that will lead us to beat cancer for good. In the months and years to come, the leading research on dendritic cells may uncover another, faster route to eliminating cancer for good.
The post Dendritic Cells and their Important Role in Immunotherapy appeared first on The Healthcare Guys.

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