Closer to understanding how tumours evade immune responses

June 1, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Scientists are one step closer to understanding how to design effective anti-tumour vaccines, due to PhD research by a recent Victoria University graduate.

Dr Haley Ataera, who graduated from Victoria with a PhD in Biomedical Sciences in May, focused her PhD thesis on trying to understand how (Treg), which prevent the body’s immune response from damaging itself, work and which cells of the they negatively affect.

"The human immune system is a series of checks and balances," says Dr Ataera.

"Our immune system is able to launch powerful responses against many diseases, including cancer. However, it also requires mechanisms to suppress the immune response to avoid self-damage. Tumours can hijack these suppressive mechanisms and evade the .

"Recent work has suggested that Treg can destroy cells of the immune system that are required to eliminate the tumour using a pathway that is similar to that used by the immune system to destroy pathogens, such as viruses or tumours. I demonstrated that this does not appear to be the case in some tumours."

Dr Ataera believes this work will help in the design of more effective anti-tumour vaccines in the future.

In June, Dr Ataera is taking up a new position at the center for Cell And Gene Therapy (CAGT) at the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA where she will work on developing an anti-tumour vaccine to treat the cancer neuroblastomas, one of the most common cancers in childhood and the most common in infancy.

Dr Ataera completed her PhD with the assistance of a Health Research Council grant. Her primary, secondary and tertiary supervisors were Professor Franca Ronchese, Dr Ian Hermans and Dr Anne La Flamme respectively.

All of the PhD work was performed at the Malaghan Institute, based on Victoria University’s Kelburn Campus.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

'CYCLOPS' algorithm spots daily rhythms in cells

April 25, 2017

Humans, like virtually all other complex organisms on Earth, have adapted to their planet's 24-hour cycle of sunlight and darkness. That circadian rhythm is reflected in human behavior, of course, but also in the molecular ...

Discovery offers new hope to repair spinal cord injuries

April 24, 2017

Scientists at the Gladstone Institutes created a special type of neuron from human stem cells that could potentially repair spinal cord injuries. These cells, called V2a interneurons, transmit signals in the spinal cord to ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.