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How do cunning cancer cells escape death by our immune system?

  • Researcher: Professor Pierre van der Bruggen
  • Institution: Institut de Duve, Brussels, Belgium
  • Award Amount: £185,208 for 3 years from March 2014
  • Cancer Type: General Cancer Research
How do cunning cancer cells escape death by our immune system?
Our immune system is made up of cells that have the ability to recognise foreign molecules – such as those found on bacteria, viruses and even some cancer cells. Once a foreign body, like a cancer cell, has been detected the immune system is usually able to attack and kill it. But cancer cells are cunning and have developed a wide range of ways to prevent the immune system from recognising or attacking them. Professor Pierre van der Bruggen is investigating one way cancer cells evade death by releasing molecules called galectins. He will be using samples taken from cancer patients and mice to study the role of galectins. He will also study the effect that blocking these molecules could potentially have on reducing tumour growth and ability to spread.
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