UPenn Researchers Create A New Passport For Cancer Treatment

By Hadas Kuznits

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have made a breakthrough in cancer treatment.

The researchers were able to create what they call an “immunity passport.” University of Pennsylvania Chemical bimolecular professor Dennis Discher says one of the problems with cancer treatment is trying to insert foreign objects into the body for treatment or imaging without the body attacking them.

“A passport to get past the immune cells that act like customs officers, border immigration that sort of want to remove things that are foreign from things in the body.”

Turns out the immunity passport is a particular protein found in the body that is attached to a foreign object placed into the body.

“It’s a piece of plastic. A small plastic bead and then the immune cells recognize this plastic as belonging in the body,” Discher adds.

He says the findings will help patient’s bodies more readily accept objects like pacemakers. “It’s a way to make materials be perceived by your immune cells as if the materials belong to you.”

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