Oxygen inhibits cancer immunotherapy in mice models
The PHD protein suppresses tumor growth, lung response and anti-tumor immunity. Scientists discovered that this protein mechanism can stop anticancer immune responses within the lungs, where cancer typically metastasizes for many different kinds of cancer.
“Adoptive cell transfer immunotherapy provides a unique opportunity for manipulation of a patient’s own T cells out of the body,” Dr. Nicholas Restifo, of the Center for Cancer Research at NCI, said. “Although our finding is in mice, we are eager to test whether disruption of the oxygen sensing machinery in T cells — with drugs, genetics or regulation of environmental oxygen — will enhance the efficacy of T-cell mediated immune therapies for cancer in humans.”
Stopping the oxygen-sensing capability of these immune cells could prevent lung metastasis from happening. Researchers hope to use a variety of methods to stop the oxygen sensors in the cells and prevent lung metastasis.
“Since the lung is one of the most frequent sites to which cancers spread, we hypothesized that there might be unique immunologic processes that aid tumor cells in their ability to establish themselves in the lung,” Dr. David Clever, Ph.D. candidate who trained in Restifo’s lab and later returned to the Ohio State University College of Medicine, said. “Because oxygen is a pervasive local environmental factor in the lung, we wanted to examine what role oxygen might play in regulating immunity in the lung.”
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