NEGATIVE MODULATION OF REGULATORY T CELLS AND PROMOTION OF THE TUMORICIDAL ACTIVITY OF DENDRITIC CELLS IN CANCER: A DOUBLE-EDGED STRATEGY
AuthorLaCasse, Collin James
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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EmbargoEmbargo: Release after 10/22/2011
AbstractCancer is one of the most pervasive health problems in the world today. Despite major advances in its treatment in recent decades, conventional therapies have seen limited success. Aggressive, drug-resistant cancer cells can reemerge after treatment, resulting in relapse. Immunotherapy, a strategy that utilizes a patient's own immune system to specifically destroy cancer cells, is a potential solution to this problem. Immunotherapy, however, is limited by multiple mechanisms of cancer-induced immunosuppression. One of the most important of these mechanisms is the induction of Treg, which are capable of suppressing multiple arms of the anti-cancer immune response. In the current study, we evaluated strategies to hinder the deleterious function of Treg on cancer immunotherapy. First, we determined that imatinib mesylate could inhibit Treg function in vivo and in vitro and increase the efficacy of dendritic cell-based immunization against an imatinib-resistant lymphoma. Then, searching for further methods to inhibit Treg, we found that Th-1 cells were capable of inhibiting Treg function and synergizing with a tumor lysate vaccine to treat leukemia. This process was dependent on IFN-γ secretion by the Th-1 cells. While investigating the influence of Th-1 on Treg and the resulting immunomodulatory effects of these cells in vivo, we discovered that they were capable of promoting the non-conventional direct tumor killing function of DC. We determined that Th-1 induce the cytotoxic function of bone marrow-derived DC generated with GM-CSF and IL-4 by a mechanism dependent on IFN-γ. Finally, because our results indicate that the antigen presenting function of KDC may depend upon their cytotoxic ability, and since DC generated with IL-15 have been reported to be more efficient APC than those generated with IL-4, we evaluated their ability to also function as direct tumor cell killers. We found that while IL-15 DC can indeed kill tumor cells, only LPS and not IFN-γ was capable of inducing this capability. These findings contribute to both arms of anti-cancer immunity by impairing immunosuppression with imatinib and Th-1, and promoting anti-tumor immunity with KDC. This double-pronged approach may contribute to further strategic advances in the field of cancer immunotherapy.
Degree ProgramGraduate College