Potential target for cancer immunotherapy: Research | Health.

A groundbreaking study led by Professor Massimiliano Mazzone has identified a potential target for cancer immunotherapy that could revolutionize treatment options for patients with hard-to-treat cancers. The research, conducted by the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology, focused on the CDA gene, which was found to be highly expressed in immunotherapy-resistant cancer cells.

Inhibiting the CDA gene through pharmacological or genetic interventions resulted in increased T-cell infiltration, enhancing the effectiveness of immunotherapy in PDAC, a particularly aggressive and lethal form of pancreatic cancer.

Key findings from the study, which was published in Nature Cancer, include:

– PDAC has an overall 5-year survival rate of only 9%.
– Pancreatic cancer is the 9th most common cancer in Belgium, with 2242 diagnoses in 2021.
– Most PDAC patients are diagnosed at advanced stages, with few eligible for surgery at the time of diagnosis.
– The presence of the CDA gene in cancer cells leads to the creation of UDP, which signals immune cells to become immunosuppressive.
– Inhibiting the CDA gene in cancer cells increases T-cell infiltration and makes tumors more susceptible to immunotherapy.

Professor Mazzone expressed optimism about the study’s results, noting that while more research is needed before the findings can be applied in clinical settings, they represent a significant step forward in understanding and overcoming immunotherapy resistance in cancer. The study’s implications extend beyond PDAC, with potential applications in other cancer types such as melanoma.

As researchers continue to explore the role of the CDA gene in immunotherapy resistance, there is hope that this discovery could lead to more effective treatment options for cancer patients in the future.

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