A video from Cambridge University's Under the Microscope series reveals a battle to the death between a white blood cell and a cancer cell. The T cell (green), which is only 10 microns long, identifies and engulfs its victim slowly (this footage is sped up -- the action is 92 times faster than real time).
Cells of the immune system protect the body against pathogens. If cells in our bodies are infected by viruses, or become cancerous, then killer cells of the immune system identify and destroy the affected cells. Cytotoxic T cells are very precise and efficient killers. They are able to destroy infected or cancerous cells, without destroying healthy cells surrounding them. The Wellcome Trust funded laboratory of Professor Gillian Griffiths, at the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, investigates just how this is accomplished. By understanding how this works, we can develop ways to control killer cells. This will allow us to find ways to improve cancer therapies, and ameliorate autoimmune diseases caused when killer cells run amok and attack healthy cells in our bodies.
For more videos from Cambridge University, visit the YouTube channel.
Via Laughing Squid.