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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16.01.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
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13.01.2017 | Princeton University
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
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