Video Footage of a T Cell Attacking a Cancer Cell

Every day, our body’s T-Cells hunt down Cancerous cells and destroy them before they get big enough to turn into a real problem. It’s estimated that at least 3 times a day, our bodies get flushed out of cancer cells. The video above is comes from Cambridge University’s Under the Microscope series shows a white blood cell and a cancer cell. The T cell (green), first identifies then engulfs its victim in order to destroy it. The process is extremely slow, the video was sped up 92 times in order for it to be of any actual educational value. But it’s very cool.

***

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.