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A Novel Strategy to Activate the Immune System to Attack Cancer Cells

Tuesday, September 20, 2016
By Dr. You-Wen He

Dr. You-Wen He and his collaborators have recently published exciting new research in Cancer Discovery (September 2016) which shows that complement and interleukin 10 (IL-10) can influence the ability of cytotoxic T cells to kill tumor cells.  Complement is essential for many aspects of immune function, but this research group found that complement normally inhibits anti-tumor immune responses and permits the growth of tumors in mice.  They showed that complement has this effect because it binds to receptors on tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and prevents them from producing IL-10.  Notably, they found that this cytokine supports the growth and killing activity of TILs.  Based on these results, the researchers suggest that novel therapies incorporating IL-10 treatment or blockade of complement receptors will help the immune system fight cancer. Learn more.