From rarity to clarity: gd T cells in cancer


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Seth Coffelt1
1Beatson Institute for Cancer Research

Abstract

Background

Over the past 10 years, the cancer community has learned a great deal about how solid tumors alter distant organs to create a suitable environment for the seeding and outgrowth of disseminated cancer cells. Immune cells are major contributors to this process, where some populations work to counteract metastasis and other populations function to promote metastasis. We have shown that gd T cells – a rare population of T cell receptor-expressing cells that straddle the line between innate and adaptive immunity – advance mammary tumour metastasis through expression of IL-17. We have found that IL-17-producing gd T cells instruct neutrophils to suppress the function of CD8 T cells, allowing metastatic cancer cells to avoid anti-tumour immunity. My lab is now interested in understanding how IL-17-producing gd T cells are regulated in the pre-metastatic niche of the lung, in order to develop novel immunotherapies that counteract their function and reduce mammary tumour metastasis. At the same time, we are exploring the role of gd T cells in other cancer types, including colorectal cancer and pancreatic cancer. We are particularly interested in liver-resident gd T cells and how they may shape this major site of metastasis. During my talk, I will present our latest data in this area, which are providing clarity on the function of gd T cells in different metastatic organs.