Groundbreaking study to investigate why cancer returns in some people and not others
Cancer cells, however, take advantage of immune regulatory mechanisms such as these to stop themselves from being targeted while they multiply.
Banks-Köhn and team carried out cell culture studies which showed that a signaling protein called SHP2 that is present on T cells specifically binds to two sites on an immune checkpoint receptor called programmed cell death 1 (PD1) once it has been activated by a signal sent by cancer cells.
As reported in the journal Science Advances , it is this specific binding at the two sites on PD1 is triggers the cancer cells’ camouflaging ability and halts the T cell response.
Antibodies that bind to checkpoint inhibitors such as PD1 have already been approved for some types of cancer, but many patients experience autoimmune reactions to these therapies. The team hopes their new findings could help researchers improve these treatments by intercepting the cancer cells’ activation mechanism.
Drugs that prevent the binding of SHP2 and PD1 could be used in the future to make side effects less severe and to support, or to act as alternatives to, antibody treatments,” Banks-Köhn. What is next?
The next step is to unravel the PD1 signaling pathway: "In our ongoing research project at the CIBSS - Centre for Integrative Biological Signalling Studies the next step is to decode the signaling pathway of PD1 - in other words, where the proteins are located in the cell, where they bind, and within what time frame the signals take effect," concludes Banks-Köhn. Sources:
How the immune system becomes blind to cancer cells. EurekAlert! 2020. Available at: https://www.eurekalert.org/emb_releases/2020-01/uof-hti012920.php
Science Surgery: ‘Why doesn’t the immune system attack cancer cells?’ Cancer Research Uk 2019. Available at https://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2019/02/28/science-surgery-why-doesnt-the-immune-system-attack-cancer-cells/
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