It is well known that the human body has a highly developed immune system to detect and destroy invading pathogens and tumor cells. Now, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have shown that the body has a second line of defense against cancer – healthy cells. A new study shows that normal mammary epithelial cells, as they are developing, secrete interleukin 25, a protein known for its role in the immune system’s response to inflammation, for the express purpose of killing nearby breast cancer cells.
“We found that normal breast cells provide an innate defense mechanism against cancer by producing interleukin 25 (IL25) to actively and specifically kill breast cancer cells,” says breast cancer authority Mina Bissell, of Berkeley Lab’s Life Sciences Division, who led this research. “This suggests that IL25 receptor signaling may provide a new therapeutic target for the treatment of breast cancer.” (more…)