According to a new study at Case Western Reserve University, microscopic fungus may be able to help researchers learn more about some of the types of oral cancer. The research was being conducted at the School of Dental Medicine, and they were studying the T cell Tregs and what happened to it when oral cancer was first forming. They used mucosa, which is a liner for organs like the lungs, the mouth, and nose. The focus was on dectin-1, which is how a cell recognizes patterns and is a part of the immune receptor. It is known to be a part of the trigger as a part of the response to inflammation from a fungal infection. Tregs are a regulatory part of white blood cells, and it helps to curb a cell’s immune response. As a tumor grows, more of these cells accumulate. This can cause an overreaction to microscopic fungus, which then promotes the tumor’s growth instead of fighting it. As people age, their bodies are more likely to have this reaction because the body produces more dectin-1, weakening the body’s response to cancer. So far, they have only researched older oral mucosa, but it could have implications for other types of cancer, too.
For more information on the possibilities of this breakthrough, check out How a Microscopic Fungus Could Lead to a Breakthrough in Oral Cancer Research. A more comprehensive report was published in Frontiers in Oncology.