ANCHOR LEAD: OVARIAN CANCERS MAY UTILIZE AN INHIBITORY PROTEIN TO ESCAPE THE IMMUNE SYSTEM’S WRATH, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Ovarian cancer is a killer, with most women dying within a couple of years of diagnosis. Now a Johns Hopkins study may help explain why. Mathias Oelke and colleagues have found that the fluid secretions around ovarian tumors, called ascites, can inhibit a critical type of cell in the immune system known as a natural killer or NKT cell.
OELKE: What we found was that the ascites in ovarian cancer patients has some component which inhibits the activation of of NKT cells, and therefore they take away the first line of defense, which is necessary to activate and support the following steps in the immune response to the cancer. :24
Oelke says developing strategies for inhibiting this factor as well as ways to reactivate natural killer cells are logical targets to improve ovarian cancer therapy, but by far the best strategy is to find an effective screening method to catch the cancer early, I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.