Cancer Immunotherapy: The Optogenetics Angle

The Nobel laureates this year were pioneers in the field of cancer immunotherapy. Their research paved the way for treating a wide range of cancers. Optogenetics could be used to fine-tune and improve the efficacy of the cancer immunotherapies that they pioneered.

That new path could be marked with light, at least in part. Many researchers have been looking at how optogenetics techniques, usually associated with neuroscience, can be used to tune and improve the effectiveness of cancer immunotherapies, the pioneers of which were honored this year in Stockholm.

The work recognized in the 2018 Physiology or Medicine Nobel Prize in Immunotherapy focuses on improving the immune system’s response to tumors by blocking certain proteins that act as “brakes” on the immune system’s T-cell response. Their research aims to improve the immune system’s response to tumors by blocking specific proteins that act as “brakes” on the T-cell response. They reduced malignant melanoma tumors by eliminating the immune-suppressive action of the braking proteins.

Optogenetics studies how light can be used to control the activity of specific genes in the body. Some researchers believe it could eventually help improve the efficacy of cancer immunotherapy. They propose that light-based techniques could allow “remote control” of immune responses within the body.

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