Penn Study Shows Two-Sided Immune Cell Could be Harnessed to Shrink Tumors


October 28, 2010

Contact:
Karen Kreeger
215-349-5658
Karen.Kreeger@uphs.upenn.edu
 
Penn Study Shows Two-Sided Immune Cell Could be Harnessed to Shrink Tumors
 
PHILADELPHIA --- A recently identified immune cell that directs other cells to fight infection plays a critical role in regulating the immune system in both health and disease. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have discovered how a stimulatory molecule and a protein found on the membrane of another immune cell make T helper 17 cells multi-taskers of sorts. Th17 cells protect the body against infection and cancer, but are also culprits in some autoimmune diseases and out-of-control, cancerous cell growth.
 
This new understanding that Th17 cells manage to play both sides of the fence suggests that targeting or inhibiting the involved protein pathways might be a new way to treat cancer, chronic infection, and some autoimmune diseases. Previous studies have linked excessive amounts of Th17 cells in teh body to such autoimmune diseases as multiple schlerosis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and Crohn's disease... READ MORE