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Researchers identify cancer-killing capability of lesser known immune cells

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Researchers at Trinity College Dublin have identified, for the first time in esophageal cancer, the cancer killing capability of a lesser-known type of immune cell, presenting a new potential therapeutic target. Their research has been published today in the international journal Frontiers in Immunology here.

Esophageal cancer is a very aggressive type of cancer with poor prognosis, and the 5-year survival rate is typically less than 15%. Linked with obesity, esophageal cancer is one of the fastest growing cancers in the Western world and incidence is due to double in Ireland within the next few decades. Current treatment strategies work well but only for a minority (approx. 25%) of patients so new treatment options are urgently needed.

New treatment strategies targeting the immune system have had revolutionary effects in other cancer types, but the latest clinical trials show that, disappointingly, immunotherapy offers no real benefit for the majority of patients with esophageal cancer.

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Esophageal cancer is one of the fastest growing and deadliest cancers in the United States.  There are no routine screenings to detect esophageal cancer in earlier stages and symptoms (such as difficulty swallowing, choking sensation, etc…) often occur once the cancer spreads and becomes more difficult (if not impossible) to treat.

Learn the facts about esophageal cancer

-Esophageal cancer has increased over 700% and is considered one of the fastest growing cancer in the US.*

-Risk factors include:

  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD, acid reflux, chronic heartburn),
  • obesity,
  • poor nutrition,
  • tobacco use,
  • excessive alcohol use,
  • Barrett’s esophagus.

-As one of the deadliest cancers, esophageal cancer has an overall 5 year survival rate of only 19.2%.

-There are no routine or standard screenings to improve early detection of esophageal cancer.

-Symptoms often arise late, once the cancer is considered advanced or “distant” (spread to lymph nodes and other organs.)

-Stage IV esophageal cancer has a survival rate of only 4.8%.

-Despite these facts, esophageal cancer research is extremely underfunded.

To make a tax-deductible donation to The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation, please visit: salgi.org/donate

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