Identification of Positive Transcriptional Regulators of the tap-1 Gene

Worldwide in 2000, there were 10.1 million new cases of cancer, 6.2 million deaths due to cancer, and 22 million people living with the disease. The immune system plays an important role in limiting the emergence of cancers and aiding recovery from the disease. As such, researchers are looking for ways to boost the body’s own immune response as a way of improving cancer care. The immunological approach to fighting cancer involves the science of understanding and manipulating the body’s immune defenses. Our bodies already have all the tools needed to fight cancer. However, efforts to manipulate the immune system to destroy or inhibit the development of cancer cells have met with limited success. This is because the approach has been to stimulate the immune system to kill the cancer cells. The limitation of this approach is that cancer cells have ways of disguising themselves from the immune system. Jennifer Hartikainen’s approach comes from the other direction. She is working on making cancer cells recognizable to the immune system. Key pathways are depressed in cancer cells, which allows cancer to avoid immune detection and grow unchecked. Hartikainen aims to add back the components that are missing in cancer cells so the immune system can recognize and kill them, with the long-term goal of providing new therapeutic and diagnostic tools for battling cancer.