How Lymphatic System Play a role in Proliferation of Cancer Cells is Understood
A tumour is a collection of malignant cancer cells. Though its origin in the body is not known, it initially affects a particular location of the body. It later spreads to other fresh locations through the blood circulation system of the body to make the disease cancer incurable. This process is called Metastasis technically. Scientists at the at EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne), Switzerland have now discovered the role of the lymphatic system of the body in providing protection to the tumour in its initial stages from the natural protection system of our body called the immune system. The results of the finding are published in the on line edition of the journals Science and Science Express. This article tries to gain further insight into the finding.
Basics to Appreciate the Research: The lymphatic system is a network of tube like structures that carry a liquid called Lymph. Lymph is the fluid found between the cells of the human body surrounding them. It provides nourishment to the cells externally by supplying nutrients. It also serves as a means to remove waste materials of the cells away from them.
Knowledge Gained from the Research:
- The researchers wanted to know how tumours developed the ability to protect themselves from immune system to progress and spread later.
- They focused their attention on naturally present chemical substances Proteins in the lymph fluid.
- The function of these proteins is to attract T cells ( the natural killer cells of the immune system) and program to protect the healthy cells from external threats.
- The study found that tumours have the ability to absorb this protein and convert the outer layer of them to look exactly like a healthy tissue.
- This causes the outer layer to attract the T cells, which are effectively re-programmed by the tumor to identify them as friend and not as foe.
- In this way, tumours successfully play a biological trick to remain undetected by the immune system.
- According to the researchers, the finding has opened a new area of research exploring the relationship between lymphatic system and cancer apart from presenting new avenues of future cancer therapies.