PhD student, Karolinska Institutet
Molecular immunology and epigenetic
Immune cells have been shown to play a significant role in fighting tumour cells. However, the cancer inside the patient's body is still able to grow and cause death to the patients. Current breakthroughs in cancer immunology research have shown several different mechanisms that allow the tumour cells to suppress the actions performed by the immune cells, both in molecular and cellular level. This suppressing effect by the tumour cells is called tumour immune escape mechanism. Our research have been focusing on digging more of the possible tumour immune escape mechanisms in the level of epigenetic. We mainly focused on CD8+ T cells, an immune cell subset that acted as the main "killer" of the tumour cells. The epigenetic profiling was emphasized on the high methylation of the DNA structure inside the CD8+ T cells that could cause these cells to be incompetent in expressing important proteins. These DNA methylation was caused by the signals from the tumour. The effect of not expressing these important proteins would cause the CD8+ T cells to have not enough ammunitions to kill the tumour cells, causing the cancer to further grow. Therefore, by understanding these mechanisms starting from the molecular level, we would be able to identify important suppressive pathways which would benefit cancer patients in terms of future selections of therapy, especially immunotherapy. Most importantly, from our understanding of the epigenetic mechanism from urinary bladder cancer patients, we could also possibly apply it to other cancer types, making it better in the prognosis of cancer patients.
Abstract: Prostate cancer (PCa) is the most prevalent urological cancer that affects aging men in South Africa, and mechanisms underlying prostate tumorigenesis remain elusive. Research advancements in the field of PCa and epigenetics have allowed for the identification of specific alterations that occur beyond genetics but are still critically important in the pathogenesis of tumorigenesis. Anomalous epigenetic changes associated with PCa include histone modifications, DNA methylation, and noncoding miRNA. These mechanisms regulate and silence hundreds of target genes including some which are key components of cellular signalling pathways that, when perturbed, promote tumorigenesis. Elucidation of mechanisms underlying epigenetic alterations and the manner in which these mechanisms interact in regulating gene transcription in PCa are an unmet necessity that may lead to novel chemotherapeutic approaches. This will, therefore, aid in developing combination therapies that will target multiple epigenetic pathways, which can be used in conjunction with the current conventional PCa treatment.
Pub.: 29 Nov '16, Pinned: 31 Aug '17
Abstract: Analysis of cancer methylomes has dramatically changed our concept of the potential of diagnostic and prognostic methylation biomarkers in disease stratification. Through whole-genome methylation capture sequencing of triple-negative breast cancers (TNBCs) we recently identified differentially methylated regions with diagnostic and prognostic value that promise to stratify TNBCs for more personalized management.
Pub.: 17 Jun '16, Pinned: 31 Aug '17
Abstract: The Keystone Symposia conference on Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy: Taking a Place in Mainstream Oncology was held at the Fairmont Chateau in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada, on March 19-23, 2017. The conference brought together a sold-out audience of 654 scientists, clinicians, and others from both academia and industry to discuss the latest developments in cancer immunology and immunotherapy. This meeting report summarizes the main themes that emerged during the four-day conference. Cancer Immunol Res; 5(6); 434-8. ©2017 AACR.
Pub.: 04 Jun '17, Pinned: 31 Aug '17