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T cells are a subset of lymphocytes (white blood cells), which play a key role in the body's immune response. In immunotherapy T cells are modified and used to attack cancer. These cells move around our bodies, looking for infected cells and killing them. However, T cells do not recognize most cancers, since cancers develop from our own tissues and appear normal to most T cells. The main challenge with T cell immunotherapy approaches is to find ways to direct T cells to attack cancer cells.
Co-lead author, Professor Karl Peggs, (UCL Cancer Institute), said:
Cellular therapies have only recently entered the mainstream in terms of clinical application.
Much remains unknown regarding how best to optimize these therapies, particularly to enable better activity in solid organ cancers.
Our findings broaden our understanding of the regulators of T cell differentiation, illuminating new elements that might be targeted to enhance therapeutic efficacy ."
Dr Emily Farthing, research information manager at Cancer Research UK, said: "Research like this helps scientists better understand the intricacies of our immune system and how it can be utilized to kill cancer cells.
"This work in the lab adds to growing evidence for the potential of immunotherapy and will hopefully lead to the development of more effective treatments for people affected by cancer." Source:
University College London Journal reference:
Śledzińska, A., et al. (2020) Regulatory T Cells Restrain Interleukin-2- and Blimp-1-Dependent Acquisition of Cytotoxic Function by CD4+ T Cells. Immunity . doi.org/10.1016/j.immuni.2019.12.007 .
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