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New cancer 'vaccine' shows future promise in treating and preventing metastatic cancers
Date:2/27/2013

t, when detected, provoke an immune response aimed at attacking them. However, because cancer cells can alter the microenvironment surrounding a tumor, they are able to suppress immune responses and continue replicating without being attacked by the body's natural defenses.

The chimeric chaperone Flagrp-170, created by strategically fusing a fragment of flagellin to Grp170, not only enhances antigen presentation, it also stimulates additional immune signals essential for functional activation of specialized immune cells, including dendritic cells, CD8+ T lymphocytes and natural killer (NK) cells. Dendritic cells act as messengers between the innate and adaptive immune systems. Once activated in response to a stimulus such as Flagrp-170, dendritic cells migrate to lymph nodes where they interact with other immune cells such as T lymphocytes to shape the body's immune response. CD8+ T lymphocytes and NK cells are known to respond to tumor formation and kill cancer cells by triggering apoptosis, a form of cell suicide.

"Overcoming cancer's ability to suppress the body's natural immune responses and restore or develop immunity for tumor eradication is the goal of cancer immunotherapy," says Wang. "More experiments are needed, but we are hoping Flagrp-170 may one day be used in formulating more effective therapeutic cancer vaccines."

Moving forward, Wang and his team are working to better understand the molecular mechanisms responsible for Flagrp-170's therapeutic effects. Additional studies are underway to more efficiently target and deliver Flagrp-170 to tumor sites in order to provoke a more robust and durable immune response.


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Contact: John Wallace
wallacej@vcu.edu
804-628-1550
Virginia Commonwealth University
Source:Eurekalert  

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