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Anti-tumour CD8 immunity influenced by epigenetic alterations


Cancer is a systemic disease characterized by a plethora of epigenetic alterations with extensive disturbances of DNA-methylation that play a crucial and nodal role in carcinogenesis. However, the question that arises is whether similar epigenetic alterations can also take place in genes of immune cells and interfere with the anti-tumour immune response.

The hypothesis underlying this proposal postulates that "spreading" of epigenetic alterations is taking place in cancer affecting the expression of immune genes, and/or other genes of immune cells which, in turn, alter the ability of the immune system to combat tumours. This study approaches the epigenetics of the immune system of cancer patients through their functional consequences on the effector CD8 T cell anti-tumour immune response. Moreover, since one of the tools used for these studies is epigenetic drugs, this project offers a unique methodological approach for screening the efficacy of these on the immune functions, prior to therapeutic applications.

The proposal will drive further our understanding of the tumour-immune system relation, and benefit cancer immunotherapeutics. This innovative approach for cancer immunology creates a fertile common ground upon which the most forefront field of genetics along with cellular immunology will work towards the better understanding of carcinogenetic mechanisms and the improvement of cancer immunotherapy.

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Argonafton & Filellinon