New molecular details related to tumors are shedding more light on how some cancers are able to escape the human immune system, pointing to better understanding and treatment of the major disease, according to the latest Australian research.
“The immune system is complex and highly regulated, comprising a number of accelerators and brakes,” Dr Rich Berry from Monash University said in a statement about its study on Friday.
“While the accelerators activate the immune system, the brakes are critical to maintain the balance and prevent the immune system attacking the body’s own healthy tissues.”
As many tumors exploit the body’s mechanism by expressing markers on their surface that engage the brakes to restrict the immune system, one method of immunotherapy involves “blocking” the immune brakes to help the body attack the harmful tumors, said Berry.
The university’s research team used high intensity advanced X-ray technology to determine the 3D structure of a new immune brake, CD96, revealing the precise molecular details of how it binds to tumors.
“This is really exciting because studies using mouse models indicate that blocking CD96 might be even more effective at controlling tumor spread than the currently available treatments,” said Berry.
The findings help to better understand the role of CD96 in tumor control toward the development of novel agents to treat a range of cancers, according to the researchers. Their study was reported in scientific journal Structure.