JAN 22, 2020 12:21 PM PST

How the VISTA molecule affects immune responses

A new study describes how a molecule named VISTA has been impeding immune responses in cancer therapies. By turning this molecule “off,” researchers from Dartmouth Hitchcock's Norris Cotton Cancer Center have figured out how to improve immune responses in patients receiving anticancer treatments. The study was published under the title, "VISTA, a checkpoint regulator of naïve T-cell quiescence and tolerance in the periphery” in the journal Science.

"We have learned that keeping your immune system quiet is a challenging and very active process," says lead investigator Randolph Noelle, PhD. "VISTA mediates immune system function and its loss can result in the development of unwanted immune responses. But VISTA may also be a valuable target in regulating the immune response in cancer and autoimmunity."

VISTA is what scientists call a negative checkpoint regulator. That means that it tempers the immune system in order to stop the activation of self-antigens like cancer cells. "Like other negative checkpoint regulators, blocking VISTA in cancer may enhance the host's ability to make protective tumor-specific immune responses," says Noelle.

Noelle and the team of researchers have been working on understanding the role of the VISTA molecule, which stands for V-domain Ig suppressor of T-cell activation, for almost ten years. Finally, as the authors write in the study, they have something to show for all their hard work:

“Therapeutic targeting of VISTA using an agonistic antibody in mice curbed the development of graft-versus-host disease and promoted the death of naïve T cells abnormally activated by self-antigen. VISTA thus represents a distinctive immunoregulatory molecule that controls naïve T cell function by maintaining quiescence and peripheral tolerance.”

New research aims to understand VISTA's role in the immune system. Photo: Pixabay

The researchers hope to use this finding to run clinical trials to determine if their research can be used outside of mice in human patients with cancer. As Science Daily reports, if this is possible, “this antibody may be valuable in the development of drugs and vaccines to provide therapeutic response to cancer and cancer cures.”

Sources: Science, Science Daily

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
SEP 14, 2020
Cancer
MiR-107 and Its Role in Radiosensitivity in Prostate Cancer
SEP 14, 2020
MiR-107 and Its Role in Radiosensitivity in Prostate Cancer
It is often unknown whether a patient will respond to a treatment until it is in full swing. New research is attempting ...
SEP 30, 2020
Cancer
Chemokines Could be the Key in Controlling Glioma Stem Cells
SEP 30, 2020
Chemokines Could be the Key in Controlling Glioma Stem Cells
The transformation of a healthy cell into a cancerous one often comes with a slew of cellular signaling changes.  T ...
OCT 29, 2020
Cancer
Eat until you are only 70% full to reduce risk of fatty liver and liver cancer
OCT 29, 2020
Eat until you are only 70% full to reduce risk of fatty liver and liver cancer
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is known to be a risk factor for liver cancer because of an excess of fat accumulation ...
NOV 25, 2020
Cancer
Using RNA to Diagnose HPV Associated Cancer
NOV 25, 2020
Using RNA to Diagnose HPV Associated Cancer
Diagnostic tools are critical to modern medicine. They might be less exciting than a good therapy or drug, but doctors a ...
NOV 21, 2020
Cancer
Hospital patients want processed meats removed from hospital menus
NOV 21, 2020
Hospital patients want processed meats removed from hospital menus
A survey published in the Journal of Hospital Management and Health Policy reports that most patients are in agreem ...
NOV 23, 2020
Cancer
Women show higher survival rates than men post lung cancer surgery
NOV 23, 2020
Women show higher survival rates than men post lung cancer surgery
New research published in the journal Chest shows that women fare better than men following lung cancer surgery. Th ...
Loading Comments...