Cancer treatment could soon be assessed using the body's own response systems.
New research from King's College London and Cancer Research UK's London Research Institute found that the immune system emits a large amount of antibodies – in a process which is similar to an allergic reaction – when an epithelial cell is exposed to a carcinogen.
Speaking about the research, Adrian Hayday, infection & inflammatory diseases group leader at Cancer Research UK, said this discovery could lead to innovative and simple methods of "monitoring a patient's anti-tumour responses during treatment allowing us to see if chemotherapy, for example, is helping or hindering the body's own response to tumours".
He believes that further research in immunotherapy will lead to an improved understanding of the process and a better chance to halt the spread of tumours.
Doctors currently hypothesise the antibodies are used to recognise the toxins in other parts of the body and deal with them before they have the chance to turn cells cancerous.