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The enemy within – how the immune system can encourage tumours to grow

  • Researcher: Dr Federica Benvenuti
  • Institution: International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB)
  • Award Amount: £80,630 for 2 years from February 2014
  • Cancer Type: General Cancer Research
The enemy within – how the immune system can encourage tumours to grow

Cancerous tumours do many sneaky things in order to survive and keep growing. Normally, immune system cells can attack and kill cancer cells. However, some in tumours, special immune system cells can be tricked into stopping the immune system from killing cancer cells and can actually switch and encourage the growth of tumours. This leads to a much poorer outcome for patients. How this occurs is not fully understood and this is the focus of Dr Federica Benvenuti’s Worldwide Cancer Research grant. In particular she is focussing on a protein called VAMP-3 which she believes plays a key role. By having a better understanding of how the cells switch from anti-cancer to encouraging it, Dr Benvenuti hopes her findings could aid the development of better treatments for patients in the future.

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