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Scientists Discover Ancient Viruses in Human DNA That Could Help Fight Cancer

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Scientists Discover Ancient Viruses in Human DNA That Could Help Fight Cancer

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Scientists at the Francis Crick Institute have discovered that ancient viruses hidden inside human DNA can help the body fight cancer.

These dormant viruses are awakened when cancerous cells grow uncontrollably, unintentionally helping the immune system target and attack the tumor.

The researchers want to use this discovery to design vaccines that can boost cancer treatment or even prevent it.

The study showed that B-cells, which manufacture antibodies and fight off infections, cluster around tumors and attempt to fight viruses.

The antibodies recognize remnants of endogenous retroviruses, which have slipped a copy of their genetic instructions inside our own DNA.

These ancient genetic instructions can create fragments of viruses that are enough for the immune system to spot a viral threat.

The immune system is tricked into believing that the tumor cells are infected and tries to eliminate the virus, acting as an alarm system.

The researchers want to enhance this effect by developing vaccines to teach the body how to hunt for endogenous retroviruses.

The study, published in the journal Nature, describes how this happens naturally in the body, but the researchers want to develop preventative vaccines.

The research came out of the TracerX study, which has been tracking lung cancers in unprecedented detail and showed cancer’s “near infinite” ability to evolve.

The researchers running the trial called for more focus on preventing cancer as it was so hard to stop.

This article was updated 1 month ago

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