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Cancer Resistance

October 15, 2007

A small portion of the population may be especially resistant to cancer…could harnessing this ability lead to a simple and effective cancer therapy?


Cancer’s worst enemies. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Cancer kills millions of people each year, but it turns out that up to 15% of us may be especially resistant to the disease. This according to Zheng Cui of Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Cui says this is because their granulocytes, a type of white blood cell, have super cancer-fighting properties. In the lab, he found that their granulocytes were up to 50 times better at killing cancer cells than those of other healthy subjects. He and his colleagues hope to harness their cancer-fighting abilities to treat those suffering from the disease.

ZHENG CUI (Wake Forest University School of Medicine):
They have innate anti-cancer activity in their white cells, and that can be transferred to cancer patients for cancer therapy.

Cui says the next step is to test whether cancer patients’ conditions improve when given granulocyte transfusions from these cancer-resistant donors. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.