I don't know how to introduce these reports any better than as "head scratchers"!!! Here we go!
Modulation of anti-tumor immunity by the brain's reward system. Ben-Shaanan, Schiller, Azulay, et al. Nat Commun. 2018 Jul 13.
Regulating immunity is a leading target for cancer therapy. Here, we show that the anti-tumor immune response can be modulated by the brain's reward system, a key circuitry in emotional processes. Activation of the reward system in tumor-bearing mice (Lewis lung carcinoma (LLC) and B16 melanoma) using chemogenetics (DREADDs), resulted in reduced tumor weight. This effect was mediated via the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), manifested by an attenuated noradrenergic input to a major immunological site, the bone marrow. Myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), which develop in the bone marrow, became less immunosuppressive following reward system activation. By depleting or adoptively transferring the MDSCs, we demonstrated that these cells are both necessary and sufficient to mediate reward system effects on tumor growth. Given the central role of the reward system in positive emotions, these findings introduce a physiological mechanism whereby the patient's psychological state can impact anti-tumor immunity and cancer progression.
1. We have known for years that fewer MDSC's is a positive sign when dealing with melanoma. Here's a bunch of posts and data on myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) and their role in melanoma . In fact, I noted this in 2014 in regard to outcomes in my trial:
"MDSC (myeloid derived suppressor cells)
"There was a trend towards lower baseline MDSC levels in non-relapsing patients compared to relapsing patients." This bit of stuff and such along with other Treg/Tcell data comes your way thanks to us ratties sitting through leukapheresis twice during the trial. However, this is a bit I'm pretty psyched about. There is talk among melanoma big dogs that combining anti-PD1 with MDSC or T-reg depletion would make it more effective. I think that holds real promise. Though...once again...despite my blood and services having been rendered....I have no idea what my MDSC levels were. Still...I think this could be a real boon to future patients."
2. In the entire article, linked here if you choose to read it ~ Modulation..., the authors note:
1. Maybe folks who are more worried about their melanoma sleep less well!!! And sleeping less well about having a potentially deadly disease is completely legit!!!
2. Then again, maybe these particular melanoma peeps are less happy about their life and therefore invite melanoma in, like the sad rats in the previous study??? (Y'all know that is NOT what I think!! Right????)
3. Maybe younger folks with melanoma lesions of greater than 2 mm in depth were at greater risk anyway!!!! Cause that's a thing!!!! With melanoma: You can never be too rich or too thin! But, you can be too young!!!
4. Finally, no matter what you think of this report (and I don't think much!!!!) ain't no way insurance is going to pay for sleep studies just because you've been diagnosed with melanoma. It's hard enough to get them to pay for scans we actually need!!!
Head gett'n itchy yet??? Sometimes we have to think, laugh, yawn, and plain out hope researchers are getting SOMEWHERE that will actually make a difference where we need it!!! Hang tough, ratties!! c