Cancer is no more the end. Today, thanks to the advanced medical technology, it’s a treatable disease. One of the major breakthroughs took place when Professor Ralph Steinman discovered dendritic cells in our body which help fight cancer. For this discovery, he won the Nobel Prize, 2011. Dendritic cells are cells of the immune system. In cancer, the immune system fails; cells of the immune system fail to recognize the cancer cells. In the process, the immune system doesn’t see tumors as foreign or dangerous, and doesn’t mount a strong attack against them. Another reason tumors develop ways to escape the surveillance system developed by the immune system. Either way, the cancer cells continue to grow.
A dendritic cell is a special type of cells that boosts immune responses in our body. The Dendritic cells identify cancer cells, process them into bits, and jumpstart the immune responses by bringing cancer cells to the attention of the rest of the immune system. The activated immune system then circulates throughout the body and destroys the cancer cells.