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The Mouse That Cured Cancer – White Blood Cells from Resistant Mice Also Prevented All Forms – One Injection Lifetime Cure - Next Humans

May 25th 2006

The Mouse That Cured Cancer – White Blood Cells from Resistant Mice Also Prevented All Forms – One Injection Lifetime Cure - Next Humans


In 1999 an unexpected event occurred when scientists injected cancer cells into a group of mice; one mouse did not get the cancer.  Even after repeated injections the mouse did not get any type of cancer.  It appears the white blood cells from the mouse surrounded tumors and proceeded to kill them, even in advanced forms of cancer.

Not only did the white blood cells kill the cancer in the original mouse, they were able to kill advanced forms of cancer in ordinary mice after injecting them with the white blood cells.  According to Zheng Cui, M.D, “Even highly aggressive forms of malignancy with extremely large tumors were eradicated."  Cui and his colleagues reported this in the on-line edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


It even gets better.  The researchers transplanted the white blood cells into ordinary mice without cancer and found that this made these mice cancer-resistant as well.  Even after these pre-treated mice were injected with lethal doses of highly aggressive new cancers, they did not develop the cancer.

This is a real breakthrough.  According to Cui “This is the very first time that this exceptionally aggressive type of cancer was treated successfully. Never before has this been done with any other therapy." 


The original studies were first published in 2003.  These studies showed that the trait can be inherited. The researchers have found that this genetic trait was passed on to about 40 percent of each generation.  Cui says “The cancer resistance trait so far has been passed to more than 2,000 descendants in 14 generations.”

The goal is to design a treatment for humans.  Co-investigator, Mark C. Willingham, M.D, said this “study shows that you can use this resistant-cell therapy in mice and that the therapy works. The next step is to understand the exact way in which it works, and perhaps eventually design such a therapy for humans."


The transplanted white blood cells include natural killer cells, while other white blood cells called neutrophils and macrophages that are part of the body's "innate immune system." This system forms a first line of host defense against pathogens, such as bacteria.  Neutrophils and macrophages engulf pathogens and destroy them.

Neutrophils cells make up 60% of white blood cells.  Both neutrophils and microphages are created in the bone marrow (microphages are created from bone marrow), but perform slightly different functions. Neutrophils cells squeeze through capillary walls to patrol tissue, and are created in large numbers when an infection occurs.  You can see dead neutrophils as pus.  Microphages are larger and live longer than neutrophils.  They are found in organs such as lungs, liver, kidney, spleen, and lymph nodes. They actually cut up the pathogens to display antigens which are recognized by lymphocytes.

The original group of cancer-resistant mice, described in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, successfully fought off a range of virulent transplanted cancers.  The white blood cells have also been shown to kill endogenous cancers.  These cancers spring up naturally in the body’s own cells.  The researchers said “Their activation requires no prior exposure, but rather depends on a pre-determined mechanism to recognize specific patterns on the cancer cell surface."

The injected white blood cells do not damage healthy cells.  According to the researchers, if a virulent tumor was planted in a normal mouse's back, and the transplanted white blood cells were injected into the mouse's abdomen, the cells still found the cancer without harming normal cells. The kind of cancer didn't seem to matter. 

A single injection of the cancer-resistant macrophages offered long-term protection for the entire lifespan of the recipient mouse.  The researchers said this was unexpected. Cui says “The potency and selectivity for cancer cells are so high that, if we learned the mechanism, it would give us hope that this would work in humans.  This would suggest that cancer cells send out a signal, but normal white blood cells can't find them."

The next steps include understanding the molecular mechanism. "The real key is finding the mutation, which is an ongoing investigation in collaboration with several other laboratories," said Willingham.

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Dan Wilson
Best Syndication

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Important:  The material on Best Syndication is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. You should promptly seek professional medical care if you have any concern about your health, and you should always consult your physician before starting a fitness program.

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