According to studies, prostate immune cells can be stimulated to kill cancer cells.

According to recent studies, immunotherapy can be used to successfully treat prostate cancer.

The Prostate Cancer Foundation-funded study discovered immune cells in prostate tissue might be stimulated to kill cancer cells.

Dr. Ellie-May Jarvis conducted the study as a part of her Ph.D. work at the Malaghan Institute in Wellington. The medical journal Frontiers in Immunology has published it.

It was discovered that immune cells known as MAIT cells, which can live in prostate tissue, act improperly and contain an abundance of a chemical (PD-1) on their surface.

When the PD-1 molecule was inhibited and the MAIT cells were triggered by a vitamin B variation, this led to anti-tumor activity that killed the cancer cells.

Dr. Robert Weinkove, clinical director of the Malaghan Institute, who oversaw the study, stated that prostate cancer immunotherapies were still not considered standard treatments.

If they live long enough, most men will develop prostate cancer, according to Weinkove.

"Although it frequently develops slowly, it has a significant impact on the way of life of those who possess it. If cancer spreads to other body components, such the bone, this is very deadly."

At present, testosterone inhibitors, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and surgery are all options for treating prostate cancer. Some of which have severe side effects.

Dr Ellie-May Jarvis conducted the research into immunotherapies for prostate cancer as part of her PhD with the Malaghan Institute. Photo: Malaghan Institute

In immunotherapies, cancer cells are targeted and eliminated by the patient's own immune system. Although the treatment is common for several malignancies, it hasn't proven to be very helpful against prostate cancer so far.

According to Dr. Jarvis, her research includes laboratory experiments using blood cells from healthy donors and those with prostate cancer.

Jarvis stated that although more research is needed to see whether it can be used in clinical trials, this is a promising first step.

Our data indicate that inhibiting PD-1 in concert with various immunotherapies that activate MAIT cells may be crucial for the treatment of cancer. We and other researchers in New Zealand and abroad are researching these immunotherapies.