Our immune system constantly defends our body from threats, including cancer. Under circumstances that are not entirely known, cancer cells can develop ways to evade immune responses, which can result in their uncontrolled and malignant growth. A better understanding of how tumor cells suppress the function of immune cells, especially killer T cells, could lead to strategies with immense therapeutic potential.
Liver cancer is one tumor type where killer T cell responses often fail to control tumor growth. This may partially be due the accumulation of bile acids, which are produced at excess levels in liver tumors and appear to directly suppress the activity of killer T cells. In this proposal, Dr. Varanasi will characterize the mechanisms behind bile acid-mediated inhibition of killer T cells and investigate novel therapeutic interventions that regulate bile acid signaling in order to improve the effectiveness of immunotherapy for liver cancer.
Projects and Grants
Role of Bile Acid Signaling in CD8 T Cell Mediated Control of Hepatocellular Carcinoma
Salk Institute for Biological Studies | Liver Cancer | 2020 | Susan M. Kaech, Ph.D.
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