A study indicates the fact that the reactive oxygen species might help in eliminating the cancerous cells. The research work is published in the journal Cell Metabolism. The research includes dedicated efforts of Dr Gang Zhou and his colleagues. The research team focused on the use of a unique cancer therapy called as the adoptive T-cell therapy. The adoptive T-cell treatment will help the researchers to raise the levels of reactive oxygen species in a cancer tumour. As a result of the excited production of these reactive oxygen species, the cancerous cells will be over-loaded and as result of progress towards their self-destruction.

For their research to proceed further, the researchers made the use of a mouse model with colorectal cancer. The mouse was first exposed to the chemotherapy session. The chemotherapy is meant for supporting the action of T cells. Later, the model organism was subjected to the session of immunotherapy.

After the entire process of chemotherapy and immunotherapy was completed, the research team witnessed a disruption in the glutathione production. The glutathione is a natural antioxidant produced by the body at the cellular level. Glutathione is meant to counterbalance the reactive oxygen species. On account of disrupted glutathione production, there was an over-accumulation of the reactive oxygen species within the cancerous cells.

The T cells further stimulated the cytokine production. The cytokines are a series of specialised proteins and exhibit a proinflammatory effect. These cytokines are bundled with a tumour necrosis factor alpha. The tumour necrosis factor alpha plays an active role in cell lysis and tumour progression.

Dr Zhou states, “We started, by asking questions about how immunotherapy can change the metabolism of tumour cells. Our studies show,” the researcher adds, “tumour necrosis factor alpha can act directly on tumour cells and induce ROS inside them.”