Study Reveals New Way to ‘Rewire’ Immune Cells to Slow Tumor Growth

Inside a tumor, immune cells and cancer cells battle for survival. The advantage may go to the cells that metabolize the most glucose, say Yale researchers who have identified a new way to boost immune response by metabolically “rewiring” immune cells.

Their research, published Aug. 27 online in Cell, may provide a novel approach to cancer immunotherapy.

Researchers have long known that specific immune cells known as T cells infiltrate tumors. But tumor-infiltrating T cells fail to destroy cancer cells, in part, because inside the tumor they are deprived of glucose, a nutrient essential to T cell function. The research team, led by professor of immunobiology Susan Kaech and postdoctoral fellow Ping-Chih Ho, theorized that metabolic reprogramming of T cells could enhance their anti-tumor response.

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