Dialing back treg cell function boosts the body’s cancer-fighting immune activity
By carefully adjusting the function of crucial immune cells, scientists may have developed a completely new type of cancer immunotherapy—harnessing the body’s immune system to attack tumors. To accomplish this, they had to thread a needle in immune function, shrinking tumors without triggering unwanted autoimmune responses. The new research, performed in animals by scientists from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania (home of the Abramson Cancer Center), is not ready for clinical use in humans. However, the approach, making use of a key protein to control immune function, lends itself to further study using candidate drugs that employ the same mechanisms.
Among the research institutions NCI funds across the United States, it currently designates 67 as Cancer Centers. Largely based in research universities, these facilities are home to many of the NCI-supported scientists who conduct a wide range of intense, laboratory research into cancer’s origins and development. The Cancer Centers Program also focuses on trans-disciplinary research, including population science and clinical research. The centers’ research results are often at the forefront of studies in the cancer field.