Regulatory T cells (Tregs) help maintain tissue health by preventing self-attacks and excess inflammation. Unfortunately, they can also be tricked into helping tumors by blocking anti-cancer immune responses. One Treg factor that may be responsible is Areg, which appears to accelerate tumor growth and invasion. Dr. Hu believes that Areg might also help establish a pro-tumor environment, so she’s creating a customized mouse model for her to see how Areg production relates to immune cell activity and tumor behavior. Overall, Dr. Hu is focused on figuring out what factors cause these cells to develop as well as how they control Tregs’ cancer-related functions. This information may be used to augment current immunotherapies and perhaps even guide development of new and improved approaches for patients.
As a newer tool in cancer treatment, immunotherapy still has a lot of potential for expansion and improvement, and I believe the best way to make this happen is by acquiring new knowledge of the immune system, which I am proud to do with CRI's generous support.
Projects and Grants
Tissue repair function of regulatory T cells during infection and cancer progression
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center | Breast Cancer, Lung Cancer | 2015 | Alexander Y. Rudensky, Ph.D.
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