Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists discover way to amp up power of killer T cells to fight melanoma

Date:
May 11, 2011
Source:
University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences
Summary:
Researchers have discovered a way to amp up the power of killer T-cells, called CD8 cells, making them more functional for longer periods of time and boosting their ability to multiply and expand within the body to fight melanoma, a new study has found.

Researchers with UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have discovered a way to amp up the power of killer T-cells, called CD8 cells, making them more functional for longer periods of time and boosting their ability to multiply and expand within the body to fight melanoma, a new study has found.

Related Articles


The study, done in mouse models of metastatic melanoma that had spread to the brain, has important clinical implications, as the method could boost the cancer-killing power of experimental immunotherapies being tested now in various cancers, including deadly glioblastoma and metastatic melanoma, both of which are very difficult to treat successfully.

Study senior author Dr. Robert Prins, an associate professor of neurosurgery and a Jonsson Cancer Center scientist, said the killer T cells also were better able to recognize and traffic to the cancer, which is crucial as the immune system often fails to identify malignant cells as invading enemies.

The study is published in the May issue of the peer-reviewed the Journal of Immunology.

The process Prins and his team used sought to mimic the way the T cells in the immune system recognize and fight viruses in the body, stimulating what is called the innate immune system. The innate immune system is composed of cells that immediately defend the body from infection and frequently is not stimulated in the presence of cancer, Prins said. However, the innate immune cells can be tricked into thinking a virus is present by treating with compounds that activate Toll-like receptors (TLR).

Prins' group had previously demonstrated that TLR agonists, such as imiquimod, could synergize with dendritic cell vaccines, both in mouse models and patient clinical trials. Interleukin 12 (IL-12) is one of the predominant cytokines released when TLR are activated. In this study, they wanted to see how IL-12 would affect the CD8 T cells.

Graduate student Dominique Lisiero, first author of the study, said CD8 T cells come in a large variety of "flavors" and can be stimulated in differing ways. However, what signals and which stimuli work best to prime the cells to fight cancer was unclear. Lisiero added IL-12 to the CD8 T cells in culture, before the cells were transferred into mice with established brain tumors.

"We wanted to see if we could make these cells become better at either recognizing the tumor or killing tumor cells," she said. "We didn't know what expect, but what we found was that when we programmed these cells in the presence of IL-12, we saw that the tumors decreased in size and the mice with brain metastases survived longer. In fact, Prins said that the mice treated with killer T cells primed in the presence of IL-12 lived about 2.5 times longer than those not receiving the IL-12.

To better understand the mechanisms by which priming killer T cells in the presence of IL-12 really enhanced their function, the team focused on how these T cells responded to a different cytokine, Interleukin 2 (IL-2). IL-2, which is instrumental for the body's natural response to infection and recognition of foreign invaders, often is included in adoptive transfer immunotherapies to help the T cells survive, but it has to be given in high doses that frequently cause significant toxicity to patients. Prins and Lisiero wanted to know if adding IL-12 would enhance the sensitivity of IL-2 signaling inside the T cells.

"T cells that were primed in the presence of IL-12 had a higher expression of the IL-2 receptor, meaning the T cells had an enhanced ability to respond to the IL-2. This, we believe, allowed the killer T cells to expand and survive after being transferred into mice with brain tumors. " Lisiero said. "Because the IL-12 stimulates the IL-2 receptor, we can give much lower doses of IL-2 and still get the same anti-tumor function from the killer T cells. In patients, this may translate to reduced toxicity. Clinical trials, however, would be required to prove that this priming with IL-12 would have similar effects."

Lisiero also tested the new process on human T cells, culturing them in either IL-2 or IL-12, and studying their function in the lab. The function of the cells programmed in IL-12 was dramatically increased, Prins said, validating the work in the mouse models. Their findings are already influencing how T cells are grown in the lab, he said.

The findings also are translational to the clinic, since metastatic melanoma patients in clinical trials often are removed from the protocol when the cancer appears in their brain. Many oncologists and scientists still believe that T cells can't access the brain because of its immune privilege. This study, however, has proven in a pre-clinical model that these tumors in the brain can in fact be effectively targeted.

"The in vitro priming of mouse tumor-specific CD8 T cells in the presence of IL-12 induced a diverse and rapid anti-tumor effector activity while still promoting the generation of memory cells," the study states. "Importantly, the IL-12-primed effector T cells dramatically reduced the growth of well-established tumors and significantly increased survival to highly immune resistant, established intracranial tumors."

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Philip R. and Kenneth A. Jonsson Foundations and STOP Cancer.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. D. N. Lisiero, H. Soto, L. M. Liau, R. M. Prins. Enhanced Sensitivity to IL-2 Signaling Regulates the Clinical Responsiveness of IL-12-Primed CD8 T Cells in a Melanoma Model. The Journal of Immunology, 2011; 186 (9): 5068 DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.1003317

Cite This Page:

University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences. "Scientists discover way to amp up power of killer T cells to fight melanoma." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110510101722.htm>.
University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences. (2011, May 11). Scientists discover way to amp up power of killer T cells to fight melanoma. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110510101722.htm
University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences. "Scientists discover way to amp up power of killer T cells to fight melanoma." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110510101722.htm (accessed December 17, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

AP (Dec. 17, 2014) A wave of flu illnesses has forced some Ohio schools to shut down over the past week. State officials confirmed one pediatric flu-related death, a 15-year-old girl in southern Ohio. (Dec. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Feeling Young Might Mean A Longer Life Span

Feeling Young Might Mean A Longer Life Span

Newsy (Dec. 16, 2014) A study published in JAMA shows that people who feel younger than their chronological age might actually live longer than those who feel old. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins