Regulatory T cells (Tregs) can help protect tumors from immune responses. Depleting Tregs can enhance anti-tumor immune activity, but can also cause damaging autoimmunity. To determine how to better target Tregs, to promote anti-cancer activity and limit their damaging side effects, Dr. Nakagawa is investigating a protein called Helios, which is expressed in the tumor environment and helps maintain Treg activity. He’s already shown that targeting Helios can convert pro-cancer Tregs into anti-cancer types without causing systemic autoimmunity. Now he’s characterizing how that change occurs and identifying potential targets that could be used to enhance anti-tumor immunity, both alone and in combination with anti-PD-1 checkpoint immunotherapy.
Projects and Grants
Helios, Treg stability and Cancer Immunotherapy
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute | Colorectal Cancer, Leukemia, Melanoma | 2017 | Harvey Cantor, M.D.
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