Scientists discover possible master switch for programming cancer immunotherapy
JUPITER, Fla. — Dec. 11, 2017 — During infection or tumor growth, a type of specialized white blood cells called CD8+ T cells rapidly multiply within the spleen and lymph nodes and acquire the ability to kill diseased cells. Some of these killer T cells then migrate where required to vanquish the germs or cancers.
But how do killer T cells “learn” to leave their home base and amass within specific tissues like the skin, gut, and lung, or solid tumors? Finding the factors that cause T cells to function beyond the lymphoid system and in sites of infection or cancer has proven a tough challenge, but it’s essential for developing cancer-fighting immunotherapy strategies.