Targeting PD-1: Immune Checkpoint Strategy Finds New Spot to Arrest Cancer

Jane de Lartigue, PhD
Published: Wednesday, Oct 31, 2012

A Partial View of Immune System Regulators

Immune System Regulators

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The PD-1 receptors and its ligands are among the signals that play a role in the body’s complex immune system.

Adapted from Sharma P. Immune checkpoint strategies (Introduction). Presented at: 2012 ASCO Annual Meeting, Clinical Science Symposium; June 1-5, 2012; Chicago, IL.

Increasing evidence suggests that the ability to outsmart the body’s immune response represents a hallmark of tumor development. As such, researchers have begun to look at ways in which we might be able to reinstate the immune response with targeted agents, essentially indirectly treating cancer by treating the immune system. One particularly promising strategy for doing this is to target so-called immune checkpoints, which act as the off-switch on the T cells of the immune system.

How Cancer Hijacks PD-1 The immune system has long been postulated to be important in protecting the body against cancer. The theory of immunosurveillance was proposed back in the 1950s, and it suggested that the immune system is able to detect cancerous cells and mount an immune response against them in order to kill them off.
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