Recently, Zhu Shiguo's team of Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine School of Basic Medicine published the results of their research online in the international academic journal Autophagy, in which Dr Yao Chao was the first author. It showed that rocaglamide enhanced the killing effect of natural killer cells (NK cells) on non-small cell lung cancer cells. The research results have been declared national invention patents.
NK cell immunotherapy is a promising new method for tumor immunotherapy, but the clinical effect of NK cells is limited by cancer cell immune escape. How to improve the anti-tumor effect of NK cells is an important frontier topic in current tumor immunotherapy.
Zhu's team has in vitro amplification technology of NK cells with independent intellectual property rights, which can ensure the clinical supply of NK cells in number. To explore the active ingredients of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for enhancing the anti-cancer effect of NK cells, the team has established a variety of high-throughput screening systems, and found a variety of TCM active ingredients with potential development value through these systems.
Through a large number of screening and rigorous identification, from thousands of Chinese herbal active ingredients the team found that the Milkweed active ingredient rocaglamide has a good ability to improve the anti-tumor effect of NK cells. It was found that rocaglamide could bind to the specific sequence of the untranslated region of ULK1 messenger RNA 5', inhibit the protein translation of ULK1, inhibit the autophagy of tumor cells, increase the level of granzyme B derived from NK cells, thus blocking autophagy-mediated tumor immune escape, and ultimately enhance NK cells' killing effect of tumor cells. The results of this study have important application prospects in tumor immunotherapy, especially in NK cell immunotherapy.
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