Cancer, Jim Allison, Chemo discussed on What It Takes

What It Takes
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Back. You refused their ops. That our oldest brother who was a rancher jacket Rolla bulldogs with one hand. Not as hard as he paid for the long cancer. But you know he had chemo. I got Saw Him occasionally to in an oxygen tent reduced from his huge full alive cowboy this sacred bones. Anyway I got this so you saw cancer really up close and what. How was eating people killing people and you yourself had cancer three times actually luckily my brushes with cancer. They've been taught early. My eye prostate cancer off. I have two brothers. Middle Brother died of it. All three of us have prostate cancer and Mine was caught pretty early but his was so severe and so rapid that Normally probably would have just waited but time they decided the best thing to do is take it out. Even though they could have probably waited a year or two made a decision. You WanNa take a chance given how fast your brother's progress so so. When did you decide you know? I WANNA BE CANCER. You know the asset a lot. I think that was always seminole or something you know but it's not that I said I'm going to cure cancer. I got into science. I said I WANNA. I really wanted to find something. I was interested in when I was in graduate school. I did a one of my projects. Did doing my page directly on on how to treat cancer but ultimately I decided that wasn't GonNa go that route. I got into the immune system Trained in chemistry biochemistry and took a course algae when I was in cal- undergraduate and heard about this paper. Actually the Max Brand Jacques Miller and these two guys did were but these guys discovered two components the system b cells and t cells. And I said I gotta get into this understand this. This is the coolest thing I've ever heard about all this work. That's come from. There's and they're just now. Getting record is the week before this interview. In fact Max. Cuper and Jacques Miller were awarded the lasker prize the most prestigious science prize. In the United States apprise Jim Allison one in two thousand fifteen aurora. Maximum voter. Can't believe my work. Everybody Springs from yours. Can you explain to the people listening? You Know How. Your cancer cure works. Yeah so it's not that hard people have been you know your immune system of course has the ability particularly T. cells to detect. When there's something wrong and I say that I mean because that kid include infections you know I mean it's just a very good obviously at detecting when you've got a virus infection or you got bacteria and dealing with them and they know how to deal with the bacteria not hurt your cells and that's the fascinating thing about him and they do. This is recognized. Not Self which is it. Sounds like a complicated thing. But basically they know that that immune system as receptors that enables it figure out when there's something going on inside a cell that shouldn't be there they don't need to know what it is but just out to be there at some new And Way that works is pretty fast. They're these receptors generated individually on different T. cells to probably got somewhere around fifty million different ones. And you maybe maybe a hundred. Nobody knows for sure but they each can recognize something different but when they recognize something. That shouldn't be either like a virus infected cell. They'll recognize can recognize things. That virus causes the cell to make. That aren't no you and they respond to that by expanding from a small number two a lot and then killing it so we've got these hunting. Tens of millions of different sow such. You've got a diverse repertoire. Of course then you've got to get hundreds of thousands of one or two or whatever it is that can help you. That's the cool part of the immune system because that's where the critical switches t-cells see something and it's got to quickly generate hundred thousand copies of itself. You know so that you get the army to go and swarm around your body go through all your tissues and look for stuff and hopefully kill it so they could do that to cancer as well. Your innovation was the antibody. Well it was to figure out people understood that process. You know. T-cells recognized expand. They do their function. The contract you know most of them die and then you end up with some that. Are there for the rest of your life. I mean that's the really cool thing about immune system is because once it develops you've got it for the rest of your life these renewing t-cells key. Nobody really understand what starter they thought it was. Just switch you flip it and so nine hundred eighty two we worked out the structure of the Antigen receptor. Which is the molecule like? Ignition switch in the car. That's that thing that there's you know. Tens of millions of difference in your body and people thought well you just flip that and that's it so the people that have been trying for decades to vaccinate people in failed hundreds of failed trials just trying to back because they really didn't appreciate that you can't just there is no single switch is flipped it takes turns out. There's a gas paddle wheelers another signal that it's a way of keeping your safe from. Tc does get back to when they ought to. So for the T. cells to spring into action when they detect something awry in other cells of the body. They need the right signal to get them. Started the ignition. And they need a secondary signal the gas pedal but what was the next step that there was a break. This was the key thing. There's another molecule that nobody had found before really expected impact. There is a molecule that people thought was another gas pedal. But we used to. We showed that it was Nah. It was actually a break. Because when those t cells you it gets the first two signals. Divide not crazy so you go from. I don't know making these numbers up ten to five hundred thousand cells in a week. You can't let that keep going. You know you've got to have a way of stopping that it'll kill you and You know I mean you can't do body can't put all the energy and everything just producing those t cells in probably do. What are they go? You know you. Can't you gotTa Stop That in control? And that's what this molecule does except in cancer kicks in prematurely for you know I can go into the race but but that's basically what we've found but and also told us as it's turned on when the gets those other two signals so when people try to immunize naming is aiming is what we figured out was after about the first you know few times I mean. Is there actually turning on the brakes off the gas pedal? That's why didn't work because the TESOL goes into this. Let's stop now pays anyway. We found out how to stop that just disabled the brakes time. So that's what we do is and and Mice I had to do is just inject this one. Antibody that interferes with that breaking mechanism. That's the main system. Keep going for as long as that drugs around the T. cells could just keep going going and they just keep killing tumors and so in mice. We could have dejected. And of course like about it was the kind of cancer doesn't matter because you're not treating the cancer. The work had nothing to do with cancer. Nothing directly to do with cancer because it was really basic research into how the immune system operates to reiterate. What kicks it into high gear. And what tells it when it's time to shut down you now? I asked you to remember the name of Jim. Allison's band well now's your moment that molecule and the T. cell which signals the body's immune system to step on the breaks. It's called a checkpoint and the medicine that James Allison eventually developed to disable those breaks is called a checkpoint inhibitor. It used to be the kind of cancer out now. Are you burned to cut it out or poisoning right and now? Instead of radiation or chemo or surgery. You're trying to turn the immune system to kill the immune system. Do the job without doing any of that other stuff. Mary Jordan asked. Jim Allison to tell the story of that breakthrough moment when he realized that. Disabling the breaks on the immune system with an antibody.

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