The immune response is heavily involved in endogenous anticancer responses. Naturally, many anti-cancer therapeutic approaches seek to harness and augment existing mechanisms to combat tumor growth. Decades of research, including genomic and proteomic analyses, show that immune-cancer interactions are highly diverse and deeply complex. The emphasis now is on function. How does cellular functional phenotype influence therapeutic efficacy or cancer progression?
Characterizing how cancer affects immune cell function allows researchers to identify potential therapeutic targets and devise novel avenues of attack. They can gain insights into the cells that orchestrate the immune response; they can create agents to kill cancer cells directly or mark them for lysis; and they can engineer customized receptors to improve immune cell activity and efficacy. Understanding cancer drivers also helps scientists create disease models that better recapitulate the properties and dynamics of cancers in human patients. In addition to primary outcomes, analyzing cellular function during clinical trials gives scientists a way to chart the specific mechanisms activated during a treatment strategy. This information helps identify predictive biomarkers for treatment efficacy, areas for potential adjustments or improvements, and patient profiles for which the treatment is particularly effective or ineffective.
In a new eBook with The Scientist, we discuss immune cell function in cancer and highlight recent high impact studies published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology and Nature Communications. Topics covered in this eBook include:
- The link between polyfunctionality and persistence
- How immune cell response relates to cancer prognosis
- Boosting cell therapy polyfunctionality for improved performance