CRI Funded Scientists

Rebecca B. Delconte, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellowship

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Area of Research: All Cancers

Despite advances in treatment and early detection, cancer is still one of the major causes of death worldwide. Over the last decade, the ability to harness the immune system to eliminate tumors has been elevated to the forefront of cancer treatment. Immunotherapies that target T cells are rapidly showing promise in the clinic; however, this is not without limitations, such as unwanted and sometimes severe side effects. Thus, finding alternate methods to target novel subsets of immune cells is a desired goal. Natural Killer (NK) cells are circulating immune cells that rapidly detect and kill tumors. However, our incomplete understanding of NK cell biology is a limiting factor in effectively utilizing these cells as a form of cancer immunotherapy.

There is emerging evidence that dietary restriction can impact specific immune pathways, resulting in the improved elimination of cancer cells. However, whether dietary restriction can regulate NK cell responses to cancer remains to be elucidated. Preliminary work from the lab Dr. Delconte works in shows that a cyclic fasting diet (CFD) in mice can improve the anti-tumor function of NK cells and increase host survival. Thus, Dr. Delconte will investigate which NK cell pathways are altered during CFD, with the ultimate goal of targeting these pathways as novel checkpoints to harness the power of NK cells against cancer. These findings will advance our understanding of the impact of dietary restriction on NK cell anti-tumor activity and contribute to the development of novel therapies to improve patient outcomes.

Projects and Grants

Investigating the mechanisms underlying natural killer cell-mediated anti-tumor immunity during dietary restriction

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center | All Cancers | 2023 | Joseph C. Sun, PhD

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