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.