The fight against cancer may seem like a one-sided battle, though current findings bring us one step closer to victory. A recently published study found that dead cell injections directed mice’s immune systems to combat tumors.

Researchers placed an enzyme called (RIPK3) that induces necroptosis, meaning the cell self-destructs by filling itself with holes, in the rodent. When the gene calling for necroptosis was placed in a virus that infects tumor cells, the immune system’s response was to kill the virus and in turn, the tumor cell. 

Apoptosis vs. Necroptosis vs. Survival by Bram

This reaction is a great sign. Though the tumors in rats do not exactly mimic the cancers and tumors in human beings, they support the idea that the immune system responds to certain stimuli, among them necroptosis. 

As of now, the main treatments for those affected by cancer or tumors are chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The issue with these methods is that both cancerous and healthy cells die; there is no way to target just the harmful cells. The study involving necroptosis is a huge step forward as it provides a possible method to destroy only those cells which negatively affect the patient.

Whether or not the programmed death solution can apply to humans is still unknown. The rat experiment is among the first of its kind, and it may be too soon to say whether this is truly a viable option. Additionally, the tumor types in rats are quite different from cancers fostered human beings. 

Nevertheless, I think this experiment is hopeful as it has paved the way for so many other experiments to test; there is so much left to explore. This may be the beginning of something extraordinary. What do you think? Is this experiment promising or not? Let me know in the comments below. 

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