To date, most successful treatments with cancer immunotherapy result from activating, enhancing, or otherwise unleashing cells of the patient’s immune system called T cells. One of the chemical coordinators of T cell activation against tumors is type 1 interferon (IFN). Dr. Jenson’s work focuses on an enzyme involved in type 1 IFN signaling called cGAS, which is involved in our immune system’s ability to monitor our bodies for cancer cells.
Specifically, he is seeking to determine the factors that contribute to cGAS activity within tumor cells as well as understand certain alterations cGAS undergoes in the presence of DNA that increase its activity, a process that remains as yet undefined. If Dr. Jenson succeeds, the knowledge his research will yield may lead to new strategies to improve the effectiveness of cancer immunotherapy.
Projects and Grants
Mechanisms whereby liquid phase separation of cGAS activates innate immune signaling
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center | All Cancers | 2019 | Zhijian 'James' Chen, Ph.D.
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