High levels of memory killer cells correlate with better survival in melanoma patients
Source: New Medical Life Science, June 2023
Our skin contains specialized long-lived killer cells that protect against intruders. Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and the University of Copenhagen in Denmark have now identified how these cells are formed, and shown that high levels of memory killer cells in cancer tissue correlate with a better survival rate in people with melanoma. The study is published in the journal Immunity.
Certain immune T cells called tissue-resident memory cells are formed locally in the skin and other tissue, and protect against infections that they have encountered before. Some of them express proteins that enable them to kill infected cells. These “memory killer cells" can also contribute to the inflammatory skin disorders vitiligo and psoriasis. Recent research has shown that they are also involved in the body’s immune response to various cancers.
Varying responses to treatment
The memory killer cells have been shown to respond to immunotherapy, a Nobel Prize-winning cancer therapy involving the tweaking/activation of the immune system. Immunotherapy is normally administered as a complement to other cancer treatments, and there is considerable variation in how patients respond to it.