Apoptosis―a form of programmed cell death―performs vital functions in human biology, such as enabling safe recycling of old or damaged cells. However, if engulfment of apoptotic cells by immune cells goes wrong, it can cause chronic inflammation. Dr. Williamson’s work seeks to characterize the signaling events underlying efficient engulfment to learn how we might activate the process. He’s developed beads that are engulfed by engineered cells, which allowed him to define the behavior of important receptors and molecules in the pathway. He then proposed a strategy using customized immune cells that could potentially target tumor cells. He is currently testing this platform and hopes that the insights he uncovers can be used to help minimize toxicity in cancer patients.
I am deeply thankful to be part of the broad intellectual community of CRI-supported scientists. The fall CRI meeting is a highlight of the year for me where I have the opportunity to learn about the newest cancer immunotherapy tools and their clinical outcomes. The connections I have made with other CRI-supported scientists at this meeting has opened up exciting concrete new research avenues that have helped us turn fresh ideas into exciting results.
Projects and Grants
Activation of corpse engulfment to alleviate tumor-induced neurotoxicity
University of California, San Francisco | Brain Cancer | 2014 | Ronald D. Vale, Ph.D.
Let's spread the word about Immunotherapy! Click to share this page with your community.