Within our bodies there is a war going on between good and evil. The good is paralleled to the immune system, there are a type of cells that are designed to defend the body against illness and infection. The evil is paralleled to pathogens, viruses, bacteria, and mutated cells such as cancer and tumors. There is a research topic called immunotherapy, also called biologic therapy, is a type of cancer treatment that boosts the body’s natural defenses to fight cancer. It uses substances made by the body or in a laboratory to improve or restore immune system function. Immunotherapy may work by stopping or slowing the growth of cancer cells. Each day there are more and more information being published that helps researchers learn more about the immune system, how it works, and how cancer evades the immune system and continues to survive. Recently, researchers have discovered a new type of T-cell that could fight bacteria.  This new cell carries a receptor that has not been seen before, and it latches on most human cancers while ignoring healthy cells. What makes this discovery so exciting is how prior therapies (i.e. CAR-T and TCR-T) used immune cells that attach to HLA molecules (human leukocyte antigen) on the surface of cancer cells. The HLA complex is a gene complex encoding the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) proteins in humans. These cell-surface proteins are responsible for the regulation of the immune system in humans. The previous therapies (CAR-T and TCR-T) however do not work on tumors. The HLA molecules vary from person to person which allows cancer to get around these therapies. This new T-cell therapy attaches to a molecule called MR1, which does not vary in humans. This suggests that people could share treatment allowing banks of cells to be stored and offering quicker relief to people who suffer from cancer. This new treatment has killed lung, skin, blood, colon, breast, bone, prostate, ovarian, kidney, and cervical cancer cells. The study reports and concludes the following saying,
“Human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-independent, T cell-mediated targeting of cancer cells would allow immune destruction of malignancies in all individuals. Here, we use genome-wide CRISPR-Cas9 screening to establish that a T cell receptor recognized and killed most human cancer types via the monomorphic MHC class-I related protein, MR1, while remaining inert to noncancerous cells. These finding offer opportunities for HLA-independent, pan-cancer, pan-population immunotherapies.
In summary, we describe a TCR (T-Cell Receptor) that exhibits pan-cancer recognition via the variant MR1 molecule, and, by equipping patients with melanoma T cells that lacked detectable cancer reactivity with the MC.7 G5 TCR, we rendered the T-cells capable of killing autologous melanoma.”
This new finding provides a single type of T-cell that is capable of destroying many types of cancers across the human population. The novelty of this research is the findings how T-cells of skin cancer patients altered by the treatment are capable of killing the skin cancer on multiple people and not just on one person. This may eliminate the personalized T-cell therapies that currently exist, which have tremendous cost due to identification, generation, and manufacturing processes resulting from the need for personalization of the immunotherapy. The researchers believe this is truly an exciting finding and has great potential for accessibility of cancer immunotherapy to everyone!
- Crowther, M.D., Dolton, G., Legut, M. et al. Genome-wide CRISPR–Cas9 screening reveals ubiquitous T cell cancer targeting via the monomorphic MHC class I-related protein MR1. Nat Immunol (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41590-019-0578-8
The spiritual insights that we receive from this type of research is related to the one-size-fits-all potential for this type of treatment and salvation. We had discussed previously the story of Noah from the Torah. We learn in the Torah narrative how Shem continued in faithfulness to the Lord, and this led to Noah blessing his descendants and according to the Torah, God calling a people out through Abraham and ultimately blessing the world through the Messiah Yeshua. The faithfulness of Japheth led to Noah blessing him to be “enlarged” and to spread out to the north and west, and throughout Europe. The blessing included how Japheth would dwell in the tents of Shem. This provides us with a future expectation of the Gentiles being grafted in to the spiritual blessing of Israel. Later on when Moshe delivered Israel from slavery and bondage in Egypt, we are told that he delivered a mixed multitude. (Shemot / Exodus 12:38) When the mixed multitude came out of Egypt with Israel, God gave the non-Jewish person an opportunity to join His chosen people. The “mixed multitude” (i.e., erev rav, עֶרֶב רַב) were those Gentiles who tagged along with the Israelites during the Exodus from Egypt. Like the people of Israel, these people left Egypt with the hopes of finding freedom and new life. It is interesting how this people group is not mentioned following this verse in the sense that we are given a location where they set up their camps. Where were they located among the tents of Israel? There is not even a census record of these people to record their numbers. The conclusion based upon this analysis is they simply wandered with the camp of Israel in the desert. Midrash Rabba on Bamidbar / Numbers 8:3 states a connection between the expulsion of the unclean among the people of Israel and the law of restitution that is applied to the stranger. This is connected to 1 Samuel 2:30 which states “Therefore the LORD, the God of Israel, declares: ‘I promised that members of your family would minister before me forever.’ But now the LORD declares: ‘Far be it from me! Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained. (NIV)” Those who honor the Lord God Almighty, are those who would join themselves with Israel (proselytes). This may be paralleled to Parashat Ki Tisa and the Golden Calf which illustrate the separation between those who would worship the golden calf and those who would worship the Lord. The Midrash states that “From this we learn that God repels the sinners of Israel while befriending the proselytes who seek Him. They are protected by the same law as the Israelite, and whoever takes from them by violence is dealt with just as if he had taken from an Israelite.” This teaches us how God cares for the stranger and treats the stranger with righteousness. “R. Meir used to say, Whence can we learn that even where a gentile occupies himself with the study of the Torah he equals [in status] the High Priest? We find it stated, … which if a man do he shall live in them; [Lev. 18:5.] it does not say “priests, Levites and Israelites”, but “a man”, which shows that even if a gentile occupies himself with the study of the Torah he equals [in status] the High Priest.”’ (Talmud Bavli Baba Kama 38a) Written right into the Talmud is a discussion on Gentile inclusion into the family of God and it is connected to seeking the Lord God of Israel, study, and application of God’s Word to our lives! Note how the Research paper suggested the new finding provides a single type of T-cell that is capable of destroying many types of cancers across the human population. The novelty of the research was found in how T-cells of skin cancer patients altered by the treatment are capable of killing the skin cancer on multiple people and not just on one person, eliminating the need for personalization of the treatment. The parallel is to what we find here in the Torah, God gave one law for both the Jew and the Gentile as Paul wrote to the Galatians. The rabbis argue “This is the Torah (instruction) of man” (2 Samuel 7:19). It does not say, “the law of the priests, Levites, or Israelites,” but “This is the law/instruction of man (תּוֹרַת הָאָדָם), O Lord God.” And it does not say, “Open the gates and let the priests, Levites, or Israel enter,” but it says, “Open the gates that the righteous may enter” (Isaiah 26:2). The way of the Lord through faith, this is opened up to both the Jew and the Gentile. The rabbinic argument for this truth continues saying, “it does not say, “Rejoice you, priests, Levites, and Israelites,” but it says,”Rejoice you righteous” (Psalm 33:1). And it does not say, “Do good, O Lord, to the priests and the Levites and the Israelites,” but it says “Do good, O Lord, to the good” (Psalm 125:4). So even a Gentile, if he practices the Torah, is equal to the high priest.” (Sifra 86b and Talmud Bavli Baba Kamma 38a) There is One God, and there is One way to salvation, that is through faith in the God of Israel and trusting in Yeshua God’s Messiah, our true light and our Salvation. Yeshua said, “My peace I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled; neither let it be afraid. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (see John 14:27 and 16:33).
Yeshua taught us to humbly love one another saying, “if anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” (Mark 9:35) The point of these texts from the Talmud, the Midrash, the Torah, and the NT is that those who were not raised Jewish, having genuine faith in Yeshua the Messiah, would also have a place at the table in the Kingdom of God. This is why Paul wrote what he did according to Ephesians 2:11-22
2:11 Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called ‘Uncircumcision’ by the so-called ‘Circumcision,’ which is performed in the flesh by human hands 2:12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 2:14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 2:15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 2:16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. 2:17 And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; 2:18 for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. 2:19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, 2:20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone 2:21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, 2:22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. (NASB)
Here Paul is describing what happens in the life of the Jew and non-Jew who believe in Yeshua. Paul is not saying the commandment is bad. He speaks of of the enmity of the commands, this references the command to separate ourselves from the nations due to their idolatry. The newness of life that is achieved through faith in the God of Israel and by faith in Yeshua removes the enmity of idolatry as one does not walk in the way of ungodliness following having been transformed by faith and the Holy Spirit of God dwelling in the heart. This stranger, this one who desired freedom and newness of life, the mixed multitude, was a foreshadowing of the opportunity that is given in the messiah to draw near to the Lord God of Israel, to draw near to the Divine Presence in their lives by faith, no longer being estranged from God. Here we see how a Message of hope was laid out in the Torah, a foreshadowing of what we would have in Yeshua the Messiah, that “God so loved the world,” that He gave His only begotten Son. The fantastic nature of what we are studying here in the Scientific research, is of a universal cure for cancer and tumors which had up until this time not been discovered in the science of immunotherapy. In the same sense, the Torah lays out this foundation of hope, of the future expectation of the Jew and non-Jew coming together as a community of people who serve the Lord God in heaven. The Apostolic Writings reveal to us the risen Messiah, who was a gift from God Himself, who provided the light of truth, mercy, and justice in Yeshua. Paul wrote “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Yeshua the Messiah.” (2 Corinthians 4:6) When we turn to the Lord, He gives us true freedom, peace, and mercy, just as it is written according to the Prophets saying in 1 Samuel 2:30 “For them that honor Me, I will honor, and them that despise Me shall be lightly esteemed.” As believers in God’s Messiah, we become a light unto the world, as Yeshua said “let your light shine” through deeds that emulate His ways (Matthew 5:14-16). This light spoken of referring to righteousness and truth, comes from the Lord God Almighty working in and through us, to love one another, this is the image of the Messiah that Paul said we are being transformed into according to 2 Corinthians 3:17-18. Because we experience the mercy of God, his throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16) we can also show mercy towards others. This enables us to truly reflect the image of the invisible God! This is the Messiah in you, the hope of glory (Collosians 1:27). The ultimate question for the people of the mixed multitude in the wilderness, was whether one actually wanted genuine freedom in the God of Israel. The lessons we learn from these people, is that some are content to exist in the comforts of their sins and self-serving ego, in hate and fear, and self-deception, desiring to entice others to also become mediocre in their mentality, which has the effect of exempting one of personal responsibility. The moral relativism that we see going on today in our society (culture) speaks to this same attitude. Spiritual freedom means being awakened and empowered by the Spirit of God to see truth, to desire righteousness, and to live in holiness (separate) unto the Lord. We are given a higher calling as the people of God, not to revel in complacency, but to raise up, to wake up, and confront the demands of eternity. Jeremiah wrote saying, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13) This speaks to Yeshua’s Words as he said “seek first the kingdom of God and then all things will be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33) The research we are looking at for this week speaks of hope! The Bible speaks of the hope of God, even from the very beginning! David understood this when he said “Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my Salvation.” (Tehillim / Psalms 25:5) The truth of the Messiah sets us free, transforms us, makes us knew, and heals. We are to trust and believe, and seek the Lord God Almighty to live and work through us in Yeshua the Messiah! This is the hope that we have!