Th17 immune cells can perform both pro-cancer and anti-cancer activities, and this is determined by several factors, including their microenvironment and the microbes they encounter. However, this relationship is not well understood, so Dr. Xu is seeking to define and identify the patterns of this relationship. The master regulator of Th17 cells, RORγt, performs versatile functions in both the innate and adaptive immune systems. Dr. Xu plans to identify the molecules that bind RORγt and downstream signals in different effector Th17 cells, which can be either pathogenic or non-pathogenic. He’s also examining how knocking out a specific gene changes RORγt’s activity, and influences the development of cancer in mice. These insights will improve understanding of Th17 cell behavior and should help open up new possibilities in immunotherapy.
Projects and Grants
Identification of the RORγt ligands, protein complexes and targeting signals involved in Th17 cell-mediated homeostasis and pathogenesis
New York University Medical Center | Colorectal Cancer | 2016 | Dan R. Littman, M.D., Ph.D.
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