Co-stimulation report 1

CIKA is committed to providing funding for research into solid tumors

Co-stimulation report 1 - Cancer in Kids @ RCH - CIKA

Co-Stimulation Molecule Expression on Dendritic Cells in Children with Cancer

The following interim report from Elizabeth Algar was provided in the spring of 2005 and published in the CIKA Summer Newsletter that year.

How CIKA funds will contribute to the project:
This project will investigate the nature of the immunodeficiency that we have identified while performing phase one clinical trials using dendritic cell based immunotherapy in children with advanced malignancies. We will examine the expression and function of co-stimulation molecules on dendritic cells from cancer patients compared to the normal population. Dendritic cells are the initiators of the immune response and must stimulate T cells through two receptors coordinately (co-stimulation). Studying the co-stimulatory capacity of dendritic cells may provide help in explaining the immune deficiency that cancer patients display. The funds from CIKA will pay the salary for a Research Assistant and some consumables, both of which are necessary in order to perform the experiments that will enable us to answer these specific scientific questions with regards to improving the understanding of the disease and treatments for children with cancer.

Results to date:
Overall we have now processed and analyzed 56 samples for this study but still need more to achieve statistical significance across disease groups. This work shows promising results and with greater numbers we expect to be able to show significant findings.

Whole peripheral blood was collected prior to treatment for newly diagnosed children with cancer, either leukaemia or solid tumours and from healthy normal children. Red blood cells were lysed and remaining cells were stained with cell surface markers for dendritic cells (DC) and FlowCount beads added. Samples were analysed and DC numbers were accurately quantitated. It was found that cancer sufferers had, on average, less than half the absolute number of DC as compared to healthy children. Leukaemia patients returned lower numbers than patients with solid tumours.

Staff changes:
Gerlinda Amor resigned to work in the Cell Therapies Facility here at RCH and we have hired Sarah Fraser as her replacement. I also have a student that is working on this project from the Netherlands for 6 months as part of her medical training and therefore has come with her own funding, Jorinde Helmich.

Lastly I am going on maternity leave for 12 weeks beginning October 24, 2005. I will be fully contactable during this time and will be available in all respects for this work to proceed as described above.

A subsequent report can be read by clicking here.