Mapping of Regulatory Circuitry May Offer Clues to Vaccine Design and Cancer Immunotherapies.

Scientists have used systems biology tools to map out molecular pathways and signaling circuits that come into play when the immune system acts against infections and cancer. Important immune cells, called CD8+ T cells, play a pivotal role in immune response, but their gene regulatory circuits are not well understood.

Researchers from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and the University of Iowa used sophisticated sequencing and computational techniques to investigate the molecular mechanisms during each stage of the CD8+ T cells’ responses. By identifying novel biological pathways and publishing details of these interactions, the study team aims to help uncover useful targets in developing better vaccines and cancer treatments.

"We have revealed novel components and connections in the regulatory network underlying how these T cells mount an immune response,” said study co-leader Kai Tan, PhD, of the Center for Childhood Cancer Research and the Departments of Pediatrics and Biomedical and Health Informatics at CHOP. “We found highly dynamic processes as these cells develop. In addition to adding to our knowledge of cell biology, these findings may help advance vaccine development and cancer immunotherapy."

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