Human Skin Cells Reprogrammed To Fight Cancer

Human Skin Cells Reprogrammed To Fight Cancer

T-cells in combination with immune system sentinels – dendritic cells are like Superman for Human beings, protecting us from being easily vulnerable to diseases. For the first time, researchers from Lund University in Sweden have developed a mechanism to convert the Human skin cells into immune system sentinels called dendritic cells, which can command the immune system – T cells to fight tumor cells. This will lead to the development of better and much more effective cancer immunotherapies.

This latest study was published in a journal called Science Immunology. Via this new mechanism called as direct reprogramming, the researchers could convert the cells of the skin – fibroblasts into immune – dendritic cells. Dendritic cells play a very important role in cancer immunotherapy by commanding the T-Cells target the cancerous cells. Since the dendritic cells are hard to produce in a large quality and are rare, this research can prove to be a useful alternative source.

In words of Filipe Pereira, research team leader, the entire process of reprogramming millions of cells derived from human tissue section into dendritic cells took only 9 days. He further added that these modified fibroblasts can be used to develop cancer gene


Different transcription factor genes were screened using transgenic mice as a medium to that could trigger the transformation process. As a result, they could find a combination of three transcription factors sufficient to complete the reprogramming of fibroblasts into dendritic cells. The transformed fibroblasts cells could engulf antigens and also interacted with T cells, similar to that of the dendritic cells.

A company called Asgard Therapeutics has been formed by Filipe Pereira in order to explore the clinical potential of this new technology. This research will open up newer avenues in the area of cellular immunotherapy for cancer treatments in the future.

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