Montreal researchers identify new anti-cancer, anti-infection response control mechanism
Dr. André Veillette, a researcher at the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM), and his team will publish in the upcoming issue of the prestigious journal Nature Immunology of Nature Publishing Group, a discovery that could significantly advance the treatment of cancers and infectious diseases. Current treatments frequently achieve only limited results with these types of diseases, which affect hundreds of thousands of Canadians.
Dr. Veillette’s team identified one of the basic mechanisms controlling NK ("natural killer") cell activity. Produced by the immune system, NK cells are responsible for recognizing and killing cancer cells and cells infected by viruses such as the viruses causing hepatitis and herpes. NK cell deficiency is associated with a higher frequency of cancers and serious infections. Dr. Veillette’s breakthrough demonstrates that a molecule known as EAT-2, present in NK cells, suppresses its killer function. Inhibiting EAT-2 with medications could boost NK cell activity, helping to combat cancers and infections.
Lucette Thériault | EurekAlert!
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