The immune system is our best line of defense against cancer and many diseases. Specialized immune cells called T cells patrol our body on the lookout and ready to fight against infections and cancer. T cells require energy to function and must adapt their nutritional requirements to survive in the hostile and changing environments, especially within tumors. There, T cells can be overwhelmed by the tumor’s influence and become exhausted and ineffective.
However, one group of T cells, called tissue-resident T cells, appear particularly well-suited to adaptation and possess specific, yet unknown, properties that make them highly effective at suppressing tumor growth. Now, Dr. Reina-Campos is characterizing these T cells and how they behave during infection to better understand how they might be manipulated against cancer. His studies will shed light on why the immune system is unable to suppress cancer within the nutrition-limited tumor environment while also uncovering novel strategies to reinvigorate the exhausted immune response. The insights obtained could then potentially be leveraged to improve the standard of care for patients with a variety of cancers.
Projects and Grants
Metabolic requirements of T lymphocyte tissue residency in malignancy
University of California, San Diego | All Cancers | 2020 | Ananda W. Goldrath, Ph.D.
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