Medical science today uses immunotherapy to kick-start the creation of generic T-lymphocytes (T-cells) but the effect is limited. T-cells die too quickly and may not be encoded to go after cancer cells.
Japan's Riken Research has reprogrammed T-lymphocytes to kill specific cancer cells.
Riken's Dr Kawamoto said: 'We have succeeded in the expansion of antigen-specific T-cells by making iPS cells and differentiating them back into functional T-cells.'
Kawamoto adds, 'The next step will be to test whether these T-cells can selectively kill tumor cells but not other cells in the body. If they do, these cells might be directly injected into patients for therapy. This could be realized in the not-so-distant future.'
Cancer is really hundreds of diseases. Chasing a 'single cure' is impossible. Unless we are able to somehow harness the ONLY mechanism in nature that is designed from scratch to deal with hundreds of diseases, the immune system, the tool set will remain limited at best.
Since the Japanese Riken guys have already gotten insulted by the Brits over this we can assume they are probably onto something useful.