Cambridge University’s Under the Microscope series takes a close-up look at the world through the lens of a microscope. The latest video shot by PhD student Alex Ritter captures the showdown between a dangerous cancer cell and a Cytotoxic T cell, a special type of white blood cell that is one-tenth the width of a human hair. Its mission in life is to destroy virally infected cells. Professor Gillian Griffiths of Cambridge University explains:
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.”
The video is filmed at 92 times faster than real time.
See more Under the Microscope videos on YouTube.