How does cancer commandeer our immune system?
The immune system can assist patient health by combatting cancers, but it can also be hijacked by tumours and used to deliver factors required by cancer cells to grow. By understanding more about our bodies' own defence systems, we are learning how tumours can recruit immune cells for their own purposes. Once we know how the immune system is commandeered by cancers, we can target the mechanism.
Cancer and viruses
Some viruses are known to cause cancer. One is the human papillomavirus (HPV) which can cause cervical cancer.
Using HPV in the lab provides an extraordinary opportunity to explore tumour cell invasion, and to identify ways to treat it. Invasiveness is a defining step in malignancy. Any treatment that blocks invasion and the spread of cancer cells would drastically reduce cancer mortality.