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Thymosin in the treatment of lung cancer

A new paper authored by Liu and Lu in the Frontiers in Immunology reports the Mechanism and clinical application of thymosin in the treatment of lung cancer. Thymosin is a mixture of peptides obtained from the thymus gland, thymalfasin (Tα1) is a bioactive peptide that is used in conjunction with other chemotherapy for treating lung cancer. The effect is an immune modulator and has been shown to lengthen the time of survival of patients. What remains to be investigated, according to the authors, are basic studies to elucidate the detailed regulatory mechanism of Tα1, the precise mechanism by which Tα1 enhances natural killer (NK) cell activity, and the mechanism of synergy between Tα1 and interferons. The side effects of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery, and targeted therapy can be reduced with Tα1.

The major mechanism and effects reported for Tα1 are decreasing STAT3-MMP2 and ROS pathways while increasing catalase, peroxide dismutase, and glutathione peroxidase.  It restores NK cell activity, increases CD8+ T cell levels, increases CD86, Increases IL-2 and IFNϒ and decreases DC31.  Another important effect may be the silencing of Tβ4.

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