Cancer therapy has long required chemotherapy, also known as targeted poisons, in order to overcome the death sentences of cancer. Chemotherapy is meant to kill the faster growing tumor cells before it causes too much harm to the patient. In recent years, much excitement has grown around immune therapies against cancer cells as being not only more effective but far safer. Researchers feverishly search for keys to augment our body’s own natural defenses against cancers. In this work by Scortegagna et al, their experimental model in mice found a gene product which influenced the number of Treg cells entering the tumor. Less Treg cells meant the mouse immune system fought off the implanted cancer in contrast to a losing battle for higher numbers of Treg cells. Normally these immune T cells called Tregs serve to coordinate immune defenses and prevent autoimmunity. In this example, they prevented the killer T cells from attacking the tumor as aggressively. For 2021 and beyond researchers hope to modify these Treg cells to optimize tumor killing by our immune systems and save lives.
Marzia Scortegagna, Kathryn Hockemeyer, Igor Dolgalev, Joanna Poźniak, Florian Rambow, Yan Li, Yongmei Feng, Roberto Tinoco, Dennis C. Otero, Tongwu Zhang, Kevin Brown, Marcus Bosenberg, Linda M. Bradley, Jean-Christophe Marine, Ioannis Aifantis, Ze’ev A. Ronai. Siah2 control of T-regulatory cells limits anti-tumor immunity. Nature Communications, 2020; 11 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-13826-7
Thanks to Science Daily:
Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute. “New approach to enhancing response to immunotherapy in melanoma.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 January 2020. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/01/200107081246.htm>.