Yale University Yale Cancer Center has apparently found that OCT4, a protein vital in finding out the outcome of particular germ-cell tumors, is said to be generally diagnosed and targeted by the immune system in fit people. Their discoveries could seemingly result in the development of new vaccines and therapies to aim stem cells in numerous cancers, by augmenting this naturally occurring response.

OCT4 is believed to be a vital protein of human embryonal stem cells. The study authors supposedly first made an astonishing detection that appeared to expose that memory T cells particular for OCT4 could be readily identified in blood from >80% of fit donors. Leveraging on a previous study that is believed to have illustrated that a few cancer chemotherapies activate immune responses, they then examined the attendance of these lymphocytes in patients with germ cell tumors (GCT) known to express OCT4.

Madhav V. Dhodapkar, MD, Arthur H. and Isabel Bunker Professor of Hematology at Yale School of Medicine and senior author on the paper, commented, “There is a lot of interest in developing strategies to specifically target pathways engaged by stem cells at the root of cancer, and the immunogenic sequences identified here provide a target that can be readily tested in the clinic.”

Kavita M. Dhodapkar, MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Yale and lead author on the paper, remarked, “The surprising capacity of the human immune system to target this critical stem cell gene also has practical implications for preventing risk for cancer with regenerative therapies involving embryonal or similar inducible pluripotency (iPS) stem cells.”

At diagnosis, only 35% of GCT patients appeared to have detectable immunity to OCT4. Nevertheless, these reactions were claimed to be provoked following chemotherapy in roughly 83% of the patients. Aiming at dying tumor cells to dendritic cells could willingly trigger these immune responses, thereby offering a probable technique to activate immunity. Also it could provide a plan for development of new therapies for patients by means of vaccine or cell based approaches.

The study findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.