Here’s How Cancer Cells And The Immune Cells Communicate


When it comes to cancer cells, we know how deadly they are. Owing to the special kinds of characteristics that they have, it is important that the scientists know and find out varying ways which affect the way these cells communicate with the immune cells.

A new study conducted by the researchers from the West Virginia University has analyzing the contents of the exosomes that the cancer cells release for communication. Knowing what kind of factors the exosome contain and the way they affect the other healthy cells can help pave way for better findings in the cancer immunotherapy field.

The exosomes are the tiny, spherical packages which are like messengers that carry forward the communication from cells to the other. The kind of contents that the exosome of a cancer cell has is what the lead author of the study David Klinke, a researcher with the West Virginia University School of Medicine and Cancer Institute, is trying to decipher.

Klinke explained saying that exosome are the tiny ball of information that communicate with the cells around. They include a large number of proteins in them which are the primary building blocks of the cells. In addition to that, these exosomes also do contain RNAs that help with the transcription and the translation of the proteins.

A better look into it

Klinke and his team of researchers were targeted to get better insights about these protein filled structures. They wanted to test out the exosomes in the tumor cells and find the ways they react when it comes to the body’s natural way to detect and battle these tumors. But, the very first thing that they needed to find out what was inside the exosomes of these cancer cells to begin with.

To find that, the researchers collected the exosomes of the cells from melanoma, which is a type of cancer that affects the pigment producing elements in the skin. They then identified the kind of proteins and the RNA that these contained inside them.

The researchers found that there are certain proteins and RNAs that the cells withheld in the exosome instead of flushing everything out of it. This was one of the factors that ruled out the common belief that exosomes had random assortment of things inside.

Klinke suggested saying that researchers had this thought that the exosomes are the garbage disposal of the cells but the recent studies that have been conducted over the course of a decade suggest that is not the case. Things are rearranging and the researchers are looking into it in-depth to find better answers as to what role it plays when it comes to cell communication.

Suppressing the immune response

Once the researchers got a basic idea of what is inside the exosomes of these melanoma cells, the next thing that they wanted to check was for the kind of interaction it has with the immune cells.

The team of researchers then stimulated the T-cells from the body which are a type of immune cell which are targeted to identify and destroy any kind of invasion that the body is subjected to.

Klinke further emphasised on this saying that every single T-cell recognizes a unique pattern which is why vaccinations are made to help prepare the T-cells to be ready to fight whenever there is any form of threat in the body in form of antigens.

Initially when the researchers introduced the melanoma cells to the T-cells, they reacted how they normally would. They multiplied in number to swarm the cancer cells. When they introduced the melanoma cells exosomes to the culture, they found that the T-cells stopped dividing. This means that the exosomes suppressed the expression and functions of the T-cells.

Finally concluding everything, Klinke said that the exosomes create a favourable situation for the cancer cells to thrive. It has direct influence on how the immune cells respond and predominantly end up suppressing their functions. Now, the researchers are focused on finding how the T-cells react to that exosomes and knowing that is possibly going to help understand better ways to get rid of the condition and treat cancer for the better.