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  1. ITV Report

Cardiff scientists suggest the 'prospect of universal cancer therapy'

T cells play a central role in the immune response. Credit: PA Images

Scientists say a newly discovered type of killer immune cell has raised the prospect of a "universal" cancer therapy.

Researchers at Cardiff University suggest the new T-cell offers hope of a "one-size-fits-all" cancer therapy.

T-cell therapies for cancer - where immune cells are removed, modified and returned to the patient's blood to seek and destroy cancer cells - are the latest model in cancer treatments.

The most widely used is known as CAR-T and is personalised to each patient.

However, it only targets a limited number of cancers and has not been successful for solid tumours, which make up the majority of cancers.

But scientists have now discovered T-cells equipped with a new type of T-cell receptor (TCR) which recognises and kills most human cancer types, while ignoring healthy cells.

We hope this new TCR may provide us with a different route to target and destroy a wide range of cancers in all individuals.

Current TCR-based therapies can only be used in a minority of patients with a minority of cancers.

Cancer-targeting via MR1-restricted T-cells is an exciting new frontier - it raises the prospect of a 'one-size-fits-all' cancer treatment; a single type of T-cell that could be capable of destroying many different types of cancers across the population.

Previously nobody believed this could be possible.

– Professor Andrew Sewell, Cardiff University School of Medicine