Hallmarks of Cancer: Avoiding Detection

Cancer cells are often different in shape and size to normal cells, and theyno longer respond to signals that control normal cellular functions.
Our body's immune response is constantly surveilling for these emerging pre-cancersor pre-tumor cells. Successful cancers have to avoid detection long enough togrow into a tumor.

Bruce Stillman
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

There are two what are called adaptive immune responses. And those immune responsesadapt to changes in cells in our body whether they be by infections or otherchanges, perhaps such as cancer.

Virus Particles


That two arms of the adaptive immune response, one arm is making antibodies producedby B cells. And these antibodies bind and direct the elimination of those cells.

The other part of the immune response is the T cell immune response where T cellsactually kill cells that are changed in our body.

There is constant surveillance of the cells in our body so that emerging pre-cancers or pre-tumor cells would be eliminated by the immune response.

A very exciting area of immunology is what is called adjuvant therapy. And thisis where you stimulate the bodyís immune system with agents that activatethe immune system and make them hypersensitive to these foreign cells in ourbody such as cancer cells. And there are a number of clinical trials going onnow where the immune system is being enhanced by these kinds of adjuvant or stimulanttherapies, and there has been some success although I think there is still alot of research in this area to do.