Using advanced multi-photon microscopy, the scientists have tracked the migration of immune cells called T cells within tumours in experimental models, and found that the surface molecule (CD44) directly impacts whether a tumour progresses or is rejected by T cells.
Professor Wolfgang Weninger, Head of the Immune Imaging program at Centenary, says this discovery advances our knowledge of the immune processes at play in cancer.
"The immune system and cancer were first linked in the 1900s but it wasn't until the 1980s that interactions between the immune system and cancer cells became a focus for medical researchers," says Professor Weninger.
"We know that migration of T cells within tumours is very important for rejection but we didn't know about how it worked. We found that this particular molecule regulates the navigation of T cells in tumours. In its absence, T cells are inhibited in migration and show a defect in their ability to reject a tumour."
Understanding how tumours avoid the natural processes of the immune system is one of the biggest questions in cancer. Finding the answer could significantly improve cancer treatment.
Professor Weninger explains: "By understanding how the immune system fights tumours, we may be able to optimise cancer therapies in the future. It may provide the opportunity to design treatments that mimic certain aspects of immune responses and cellular processes, making cancer treatments less hit and miss and reducing the toll on patients."
Centenary Institute Executive Director, Professor Mathew Vadas, points out this discovery has been made possible by recent advances in research technology – in particular multi-photon microscopy.
"Previously, cancer researchers could only build assumptions by linking series' of still images of the immune system at work," Professor Vadas says. "Multi-photon microscopy allows us to make real time movies showing exactly how the immune cells interact and is opening up new frontiers for medical research."
Professor Weninger, a world leader in this form of imaging, is driving this research revolution using one of Australia's first multi-photon microscopes at the Centenary Institute in Sydney.
This discovery firmly places Professor Weninger and his team's focus on the next piece of the puzzle - how does the actual process of tumour rejection work?
"This next stage of our research is very exciting. What are the physical interactions of T cells and tumours and how do the T cells actually defeat a tumour?" says Professor Weninger. "If we can get to the bottom of these immune system interplays, the benefits for cancer patients around the world could be truly enormous."
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The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
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Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
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The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...
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