Using the immune system to fight cancer
Our immune system is a complex network of cells in our bodies that work together to protect us from infection, illness and disease.
The cells that make up our immune system can detect thousands of triggers, from viruses to parasitic worms, known as pathogens Importantly the cells in our immune system can tell the difference between our own cells and foreign cells or material. Once the immune cells lock down on their target, they fine tune a response to destroy the invading pathogen.
It’s a powerful network and our scientists have been looking at new ways of using the immune system to fight cancer and to answer the question: can we train the immune system to identify cancer cells as their target and flag them for destruction?
A protein with a sting in its tail
One of the proteins that piqued our scientists’ interest is called STING. When active it triggers the body to release a sub set of T-cells that are capable of recognising and destroying cancer cells. But how do we activate it?
In the paper published today, our scientists describe their work to find new molecules to activate STING.