A UCLA-led study has found how colon cancer alters its genes during development in order to avoid detection by the immune system, creating a specific genetic imprint in the process.
This ability of cancer to change its genes — a process called immunoediting — had never been described in colon cancer before, and the new understanding could help researchers develop new immunotherapies that target those genetic changes.
“By identifying the evolution of changes needed to escape the immune system, researchers should be able to design treatments that empower the immune system to outsmart the cancer,” said lead author Catherine Grasso, assistant professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “We expect that in the future, we’ll be testing new immunotherapies to prevent the development of colon cancer, while also using combinations of different agents to treat advanced cancers.”
The research appeared in the June edition of the journal Cancer Discovery, published by the American Association for Cancer Research.
Investigators from the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Broad Institute, the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Institute used the genetic analyses of more than 1,200 colon cancers from the Cancer Genome
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