‘Killer cells’ on stage at the Given | AspenTimes.com

‘Killer cells’ on stage at the Given

A recently published medical discovery that isolates and clones the body’s own “killer cells” to fight cancer will be the topic of the third free lecture in the Given Institute Winter Lecture Series.

Dr. John Cohen will speak on “The Immune System: Our Seventh and Most Important Sense” at 5:30 p.m. tonight, Feb. 27, at The Given Institute, 100 E. Francis St. Refreshments will be offered at 5 p.m.

After serving as a visiting professor at the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research in 1987-88, Cohen returned as professor of immunology and medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, where he continues to conduct research and teach.

In 1993, Cohen was the first to discover that every cell in the body has a “suicide gene” that – when activated – can cause the cell to destroy itself. The ongoing challenge has been to identify a method that will activate the “suicide gene” in cancer cells.

Cohen will talk about several ongoing research projects that are identifying the most effective “killer cells” found in the body’s immune system, cloning them in large numbers and using them to activate the “suicide gene” in cancer cells.

The promising results of one of those research projects was published in Science magazine in November 2002, and simultaneously issued in a press release by the National Cancer Institute.

“The implications are extremely significant,” said Cohen. “The immune system is the body’s own 300-million-year-old system for getting rid of things that don’t belong, and it’s better designed to do the job than surgery or drugs or radiation.”

For more information call 925-3730 or visit http://www.giveninstitute.org.

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