Cancer and Tumor Immunobiology

The immune system is the body’s first line of defence against most diseases and unnatural invaders. Cancer Immunobiology is a branch of immunology and it studies interactions between the immune system and cancer cells. These cancer cells, through subtle alterations, become immortal malignant cells but are often not changed enough to elicit an immune reaction. Understanding how the immune system works—or does not work—against cancer is a primary focus of Cancer Immunology investigators. Certain cells of the immune system, including natural killer cells, dendritic cells (DCs) and effector T cells, are capable of driving potent anti-tumour responses.

 

Tumor Immunobiology

 

The immune system can promote the elimination of tumours, but often immune responses are modulated or suppressed by the tumour microenvironment. The Tumour microenvironment is an important aspect of cancer biology that contributes to tumour initiation, tumour progression and responses to therapy. Cells and molecules   of the immune system are a fundamental component of the tumour microenvironment. Importantly, therapeutic strategies can harness the immune system to specifically target tumour cells and this is particularly appealing owing to the possibility of inducing tumour-specific immunological memory, which might cause long-lasting regression and prevent relapse in cancer patients. The composition and characteristics of the tumour micro environment vary widely and are important in determining the anti-tumour immune response. Tumour cells often induce an immunosuppressive microenvironment, which favours the development of immuno suppressive populations of immune cells, such as myeloid-derived suppressor cells and regulatory T cells.

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