"By keeping the dendritic cells alive longer, you extend the window of activation, promoting the desirable immune response, which in the case of cancer, is the expansion of T-cells," said Dr. David Spencer, associate professor of immunology at BCM. "The longer your dendritic cells are alive and active, the more likely you are to expand the appropriate T-helper repertoire and ultimately the desirable cytotoxic (cell killing) T-lymphocytes."
"The dendritic cells are the master switch in the immune system. They decide whether there will be a robust immune response or a tempered immune response to pathogens or cancer," he said.
Using a variety of sophisticated laboratory techniques, Spencer and his colleagues found that Akt1 "was in fact essential for dendritic cell survival," he said. Then they sought to develop a more potent form of Akt1 that would enable the dendritic cells to live longer, boosting immune response.
To do that, they altered the enzyme so that it targeted a particular domain on the plasma membrane of the cell where signaling occurred, making the action of Akt1 more specific. They then eliminated a small part of the Akt1 molecule that had a negative or inhibitory effect.
"It turned out that the altered molecule was much more potent," Spencer said. He credited graduate student Dongsu Park with doing much of the work to develop the super form of Akt1.
Using specially designed adenoviruses, he and his colleagues put the modified "super" Akt1 molecule into the dendritic cells.
"As predicted, these dendritic cells lived longer and were more potent, both in the laboratory and in mice," he said. "It led to the elimination of some very aggressive tumors in the mice."
In the laboratory, they found that the "super" Akt1 also has a potent effect on human dendritic cells as well, although it has not been used to treat people yet.
He expects that when the enzyme is used in people, the first target will be prostate cancer – a long-standing interest of his laboratory. However, he said, it could be modified to attack other tumors as well.
Laura Madden-Fuentes | EurekAlert!
New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers
24.02.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".
Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
24.02.2017 | Life Sciences
24.02.2017 | Life Sciences
24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News