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Does tenascin-C help breast cancer highjack the immune system?

  • Researcher: Dr Gertraud Orend
  • Institution: INSERM DR Grand Est, Strasbourg, France
  • Award Amount: £250,000 for 3 years from October 2014
  • Cancer Type: Breast Cancer
Does tenascin-C help breast cancer highjack the immune system?
Dr Gertraud Orend in Strasbourg, France is using Worldwide Cancer Research funding to establish the crucial steps which breast cancer and other tumours use to highjack our immune system for their own advantage. It is well known that tumours can evade and manipulate our immune system, but scientists do not yet know exactly how. This gap in our knowledge is a major obstacle to generating more effective and safer cancer treatments. Using a specially developed mouse model, Dr Orend has found that a protein present at high levels in malignant (progressing) breast cancer can cause specific changes in the immune response. This protein, called tenascin-C, may be a missing link. With our funding, she now plans to manipulate tenascin-C levels in these mice and see if this could represent a way of restoring the immune system’s anticancer activity. If successful, Dr Orend can then use extensive patient tissue banks to apply her findings to human cancers.
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