A*STAR scientists find way to boost body's immune surveillance in fight against cancer
- POSTED: 18 Sep 2013 12:25
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Researchers at A*STAR's Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN) have discovered a new mechanism involving p53, the famous tumour suppressor, to fight against aggressive cancers.
SINGAPORE: Researchers at A*STAR's Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN) have discovered a new mechanism involving p53, the famous tumour suppressor, to fight against aggressive cancers.
It said the strategy works by sabotaging the ability of cancer cells to hide from the immune system.
A*STAR said the research opens a new avenue to improve targeted cancer therapy by harnessing the body's own immune system to control and eliminate cancer cells.
Also known as the "Guardian of the Genome", p53 fights cancer by causing damaged cells to die or by halting the growth of mutant cells before they become cancerous and spread to the rest of the body.
The team leader, Associate Professor Ren Ee Chee from SIgN, said: "We were surprised to discover that p53 regulates MHC class I production by acting through ERAP1. This may explain how cancer cells escape detection by our body's immune system.
"More importantly, it opens up exciting avenues of research to explore how restoration of p53 with drugs such as those that target ERAP1 can help to harness the immune system to recognise and destroy cancer cells."
Acting executive director of SIgN, Associate Professor Laurent Rénia, said: "The team has uncovered a new door to manipulate one of the most studied yet enigmatic cancer-associated genes of our time.
"I am confident that this work will pave the way for more targeted, efficient and cost-effective treatment for the millions of cancer patients globally."