On the pulse 5 September 2013

  • Hyde Park Walk 2013
  • New cancer immunotherapy could “attack” cancer cells

Hyde Park Walk 2013
Over the past couple of months, we have been very busy processing all the sponsorship money and donations you have brought in, and we are delighted to announce the Hyde Park Walk 2013 made over £36,000! This is a fantastic amount, and we are very proud of all our supporters, both walkers and those who donated, who enabled us to reach this. A big thank you to all.

We would also like to thank our sponsors: Ocean Spray and the Cromwell Road Sainsbury’s who kindly donated refreshments to keep you hydrated throughout the walk; and Floris who have generously donated prizes for the top three fundraisers. Without all of their support, we could not have made the day such a success.

Finally, a special thanks and congratulations to our top three fundraisers (drumroll please!). This year, our prize winners are Linda Cohen, Philippa Drew and the Brennan family with special thanks to John Cunningham. They raised £2,740, £2,210 and £2,112.80 respectively. This really is an amazing achievement, and I am happy to say that they have each won a hamper of luxury Floris products.

Many thanks and congratulations again to our walkers and supporters. We look forward to seeing you all next year – hopefully on a day with better weather!

New cancer immunotherapy could “attack” cancer cells
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have potentially found a new way of harnessing the immune system so that cancer cells and not healthy cells can be a target of attack. The immune system is programmed to attack invaders but not the body’s own tissues. As cancer arises from the body’s own cells the immune system does not normally attack cancer cells as vigorously as it would otherwise. Dr Emma Smith, from Cancer Research UK, said: “Turning the power of our immune system against cancer is a promising field of research and something scientists around the world, including our own, are studying.”

The research was aimed at disrupting T regulatory (Treg) cells that usually prevent the immune system from attacking the body’s own cells including cancer cells. Dr Wayne Hancock at the University of Pennsylvania said: “We needed to find a way to reduce Treg function in a way that permits antitumor activity without allowing autoimmune reactions.”

The researchers bred mice which lacked a chemical needed for Tregs to work effectively. They then used a drug which produced the same effect in normal mice. In both experiments, the shift in the immune system restricted the growth of a type of lung cancer.

“This preclinical study demonstrates proof of principle that using a drug to regulate the function of a special, immunosuppressive subset of so-called T-regulatory (Treg) cells safely controls tumor growth,” Dr Handcock said.

Although at an early stage, this research goes another step towards developing new treatments for cancer such as drugs that target the p300 enzyme involved in blocking Treg cells. “It really moves the field along towards a potentially major, new cancer immunotherapy,” Dr Hancock said.

For more information, please see NHS News, BBC News, Medical Xpress or Medical News Today.

Kate Offord                                                                                                                      5th September 2013