Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Immunology research: More clues to why the body can't fight tumors

A joint research study published in the Journal of Immunology from researchers in the Immunology Initiative of the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation and the Center for Cancer and Immunology Research at Children’s National has identified gangliosides as another piece in the puzzle around why the body’s natural immune system, led by CD8+ T-cells, or “killer white blood cells,” is unable to effectively combat tumors. Gangliosides are a constituent of all cells, but are shed in tremendous amounts by tumor cells as they grow and divide. They have been shown in previous studies to have inhibitory properties, but this study is the first to definitively show how they diminish the function of the killer t-cells.

“Our next step with these results is to find a way to alter CD8+ T-cells so they are not susceptible to these inhibitors,” said Sasa Radoja, PhD, from the Immunology Initiative.

Read the press release for more.

Read about Dr. Radoja's previous research studies.

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