Scientist First to Discover How to Overturn Suppressive Immune Response

Released: 6-Sep-2005 1:40 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: Cancer Research Institute
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Citations Sciene 26 August 2005; 309: 1380-1384 (Aug-2005)

Newswise — Results from a research study supported by the Cancer Research Institute indicating that it is possible to reverse the suppressive immune tendencies of CD4+ regulatory T (Treg) cells were published in the August 26, 2005 issue of Science. Lead author, Rong-fu Wang, who is a member of CRI's Cancer Antigen Collaborative (CADC), and his team of researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, are the first to describe a mechanism whereby a natural ligand can trigger a signaling pathway that undoes the Treg cell behavior of suppressing the host immune response. Previously, it was known the Treg cells can repress the immune response but little was know as to how these cells were regulated, a huge hurdle when crafting a cancer vaccine to stimulate the immune system.

"Having supported Dr. Wang's work since 2001, the Cancer Research Institute is very proud to be associated with this exciting discovery," said Jill O'Donnell-Tormey, Ph.D., Executive Director. According to Dr O'Donnell-Tormey, the funding structure of CRI allows the Institute to further expand on this important breakthrough by discovering its clinical relevance through extensive testing in humans via clinical trials. "As part of CRI's commitment to supporting every step of the scientific process by ushering promising research from the lab into the clinic, the Institute will now fund studies as part of its Cancer Vaccine Collaborative (CVC) as to how best to utilize the mechanism described by Dr. Wang to enhance the efficacy of cancer vaccines."

The Cancer Antigen Discovery Collaborative (CADC) mobilizes invited experts to work cooperatively on defined tasks toward a common goal of identifying the targets on cancer cells (antigens) that can serve as the basis of for vaccines and antibody therapies.

The Cancer Vaccine Collaborative (CVC) was created in partnership with the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and is an unparalleled program that conducts a systematic analysis in humans comparing immunological approaches to the creation of therapeutic cancer vaccines through a coordinate global effort.

The Cancer Research Institute
Since its inception in 1953, the Cancer Research Institute (CRI) has had a singular mission—to foster research that will yield an understanding of the immune system and its response to cancer, with the ultimate goal of developing immunological methods for the control and prevention of the disease. To accomplish these goals, CRI supports scientists at all stages of their careers and funds every step of the research process, from basic laboratory studies to clinical trials testing novel immunotherapies. Guided by a Scientific Advisory Council, which includes 5 Nobel Prize winners and 26 members of the National Academy of Sciences, CRI awards fellowships and grants to scientists around the world. Additionally, the Institute has more recently taken on a new leadership role in the areas of preclinical and clinical research by serving as the integrating force and facilitator of collaborations among leading experts. CRI has thus become a catalyst for accelerating the development of vaccines and antibody therapies.


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