Funded by the Wine Celebration in honor of Carol Bornstein
Tumors are constantly growing and mutating – they are different from healthy cells, and thus should be able to be recognized by your immune system. However, immune cells respond to molecules that act as brakes, which can be used by tumor cells to escape being killed. While some of these immune brakes have been discovered, drugs blocking these do not work in most cancer patients, and many remain unknown. To improve survival for everyone, we need to figure out what the other important brakes are so we can reprogram your own immune system to fight cancer. We have recently discovered Siglec-15 as a new immune cell brake in tumors. Blocking Siglec-15 shows improved immune activity in studies involving human cells and mice. Based on these results, clinical trials targeting Siglec-15 are currently ongoing. Initial trial results show that targeting Siglec-15 is safe and slows down tumor growth in patients who have already failed other therapies. Thus, we need to understand the biology of Siglec-15 so we can design the best cancer therapy possible. Here, we will study how Siglec-15 suppresses tumor immunity and identify strategies to maximize its clinical response. Our proposal will improve our knowledge of cancer immunology and help patients in the fight against late-stage cancers.