New Discoveries and Honors in Cancer Research

Read the latest cancer research and recognition from the members of the Damon Runyon scientific circle.
March 14, 2017
Determining how the immune system becomes exhausted

Anjana Rao, PhD (Damon Runyon Fellow ’79), and James Scott-Browne, PhD (Damon Runyon Fellow ’11-’13), at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, La Jolla, and colleagues, are focusing on a key issue of how tumor-fighting T cells can lose their effectiveness or become “exhausted.”  The researchers identified two proteins, NFAT and Nr4a, that can bind to the DNA of T cells and shut down their tumor-fighting activity.  Next steps will be to determine if these processes can be interfered with or reversed in order to re-motivate immune cells to eradicate a patient's tumor.  These results were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.