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VEGF-A Found Critical in Helping T Cells to Kill Tumors

04:11 EST 14 Nov 2017 | Genetic Engineering News

Researchers report that the immune system's cancer-killing T cells are more effective in a tumor's anoxic environment when they have access to growth factor VEGF-A. In a study (“An HIF-1α/VEGF-A Axis in Cytotoxic T Cells Regulates Tumor Progression”) from the Karolinska Institutet published in  Cancer Cell , the scientists show how the T cells not only survive in this oxygen-depleted micro-environment with the help of transcription factor HIF-1a but also become more effective at killing cancer cells inside it. “Cytotoxic T cells [important for the immune system in their ability to kill tumor cells] infiltrating tumors are thought to utilize HIF transcription factors during adaptation to the hypoxic tumor microenvironment. Deletion analyses of the two key HIF isoforms found that HIF-1α, but not HIF-2α, was essential for the effector state in CD8+ T cells. Furthermore, loss of HIF-1α in CD8+ T cells reduced tumor infiltration and tumor cell killing, and altered tumor vascularization,” write the investigators. ...

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