While most current immunotherapy strategies utilize the “killer” T cells that directly attack tumors, the success of cancer immunotherapy also appears to depend on “helper” T cells. One mechanism that they use to support the cancer-fighting T cells is the production of IL-21, which enhances the function of “killer” T cells and bestows memory-like properties upon them. However, the precise mechanisms through which IL-21 causes this need to be elucidated. Therefore, Dr. Ryan Zander seeks to determine the molecular pathways downstream of IL-21 that bolster killer T cells, as well as identify the subset of helper T cells that produce IL-21. In this way, Dr. Zander aims to uncover important implications that could be used to improve the effectiveness of immunotherapy.
Projects and Grants
Identification of potent IL-21-producing T helper cell population that sustains cytotoxic T cell response during chronic viral infection and tumorigenesis
Blood Center of Wisconsin | All Cancers | 2018 | Weiguo Cui, M.D., Ph.D.
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