Each year hundreds of thousands of women globally are diagnosed with gynecologic cancers, which can affect the ovaries, endometrium, cervix, and other tissues of the female reproductive system. Thus far, unfortunately, current immunotherapies haven’t been effective for the majority of these patients, so Dr. Nolan aims to determine the role of a specific immune molecule—a protein known as HLA-F—in the progression of gynecologic cancers.
Specifically, Nolan’s research seeks to define how this protein interacts with the immune system at the molecular level, to characterize the details and context of this interaction, and to determine how immune cells isolated from healthy uterine tissue respond to cancer cells expressing this protein. These studies could reveal a more complete view of this system and provide a valuable understanding of the mechanisms at play in gynecologic cancers and how they enable tumors to evade immune recognition. Ultimately, this could lead to new therapeutic discoveries to treat gynecologic cancers and improve patient outcomes.
Projects and Grants
Structure and function of Human Leukocyte Antigen-F (HLA-F) in gynecologic cancers
University of Chicago | Cervical Cancer, Ovarian Cancer | 2019 | Erin Adams, Ph.D.
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