The innate branch of the immune system plays a pivotal role in initiating immune responses during the early stages of diseases, including cancer. Natural killer (NK) cells are part of this first line of defense, and they appear to possess immunological memory that enables them to remember threats they’ve encountered before. One way that NK cells eliminate diseased cells—including cancer cells—is through a process known as antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) that relies on a receptor known as CD16. However, the molecular patterns and signals that govern CD16 binding and NK cell activity vary between mice and humans.
Therefore, Dr. Aguilar aims to establish a mouse model that more accurately reflects human CD16-dependent NK cell function. Furthermore, he will test the hypothesis that another aspect of CD16 signaling in NK cells can induce or maintain immunological memory using mouse models of cancer and viral infection. Dr. Aguilar’s findings may help expand our knowledge of NK cell biology and provide insights on how to more effectively utilize these cells in the effective treatment of cancer.
Read Interview with Dr. Aguilar
Projects and Grants
The role of Fcg receptors in NK-mediated immunity against cancer and virus infection
University of California, San Francisco | Leukemia | 2019 | Lewis L. Lanier, Ph.D.
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