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Taking the brakes off immunotherapy

  • Researcher: Professor Francisco Lozano
  • Institution: IDIBAPS Research Institute, Barcelona, Spain
  • Award Amount: £182,490 for 2 years from June 2014
  • Cancer Type: General Cancer Research
Taking the brakes off immunotherapy
Our immune system has a natural ability to fight tumours, but sometimes it doesn’t always work. Professor Lozano in Spain is finding new ways to help unleash this potential.CD5 and CD6 are two proteins which usually act as brakes on our immune system, preventing it from activating too strongly and causing potential damage to healthy tissues. But in the case of tumours, we want the immune system to react strongly against the cancer. Disabling these molecules could be one way to encourage this.Professor Lozano has already shown in mice that introducing soluble forms of CD5 and CD6 can block the activation of natural CD5 and CD6 present in the body. More importantly, these mice have a stronger immune response against certain tumour types. For this project, Professor Lozano will continue with these studies, investigating exactly why soluble CD5 and CD6 seem to cause enhanced immune responses against tumours. He also wants to take it one step further. His aim is to treat normal mice with soluble CD5/CD6 and see if it helps improve the activity of existing chemotherapy or immunotherapy treatments. This is a particularly exciting test because if it works, it represents a potentially new and easy way of improving immunotherapy treatments in patients.
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