Researchers discover how cancer’s “invisibility cloak” works

UBC research on cancer was featured on 660 News.

Researchers found that a specific type of gene causes cancer cells to almost disappear as it transitions from a primary tumour to a metastatic tumour.

“We found that if we just replaced the IL-33 gene, so we re-express IL-33 in the metastatic tumours themselves that we could resurrect the flags on the surface and resurrect immune recognition of the metastatic cell,” said lead author Dr. Wilfred Jefferies, a researcher at UBC’s Michael Smith Laboratories.

The discovery could help use the human body’s own immune system to fight cancer.