Catalan researchers open door to a new treatment against colon cancer

Barcelona Institute for Research in Biomedicine’s finding employs use of immunology against colon cancer and its metastasis


IRB Barcelona's researchers team (by Laura Fíguls)
IRB Barcelona's researchers team (by Laura Fíguls) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

February 15, 2018 01:53 PM

Therapies that activate the immune system to fight cancer-causing cells are among the most effective treatments against some tumours, such as melanomas and lung cancer. Yet most colon tumours could not be treated with this kind of therapy, called immunotherapy – until now. The Barcelona Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) has found that the hormone TFG-beta is responsible for the inaction of the immune system when fighting tumour-causing cells in the colon, thus advancing the possibilities of using immunotherapy in the treatment of colon cancer

The findings of the research, which have been published in ‘Nature’ magazine, show that if the effects of the TGF-beta hormone are neutralized,  the cells of the immune system can recognize the presence of the tumour, fight cancer, and even prevent metastasis in the liver and the lung. “The findings of the research show that we were able to reverse the disease, even when it was advanced,” said the head of the team that undertook the research, Eduard Batlle. “We healed mice that were about to die, and now they are alive,” he added.