Cancer: Immune Cell Found to Have Anti-tumour Properties
October 11, 2013

TGRI Senior Scientist Dr. Li Zhang and OCI Senior Scientist Dr. Ming-Sound Tsao have discovered a new mechanism by which a type of immune cell—known as a gamma delta T cell—recognizes and kills cancer cells.
This discovery builds upon previous research by Dr. Zhang and her collaborators which showed that lymphoid cells are able to kill cancer cells by increasing the expression of a protein called TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL). The more recent study demonstrates that the ability of gamma delta T cells to regulate cancer cell death is controlled by the function of a protein called Natural Killer receptor group 2 member D (NKG2D). When NKGD2 is activated, it induces soluble TRAIL production and release, which then leads to tumour cell death.
The findings from this study help to establish the mechanisms by which gamma delta T cells exert anti-tumour activity and may be useful in developing immunity-based cancer treatments.
This work was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Dokouhaki P, Schuh NW, Joe B, Allen CA, Der SD, Tsao MS, Zhang L. NKG2D regulates production of soluble TRAIL by ex vivo-expanded human gamma delta T cells. European Journal of Immunology. 2013 August 20.

From September 2013 NRx
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