Co-stimulation report 2

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Co-stimulation report 2 - Cancer in Kids @ RCH - CIKA

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

Results to date:
Overall we have now processed and analysed 175 samples (80 since the last progress report) for this study and therefore have achieved our recruitment goals. This number of samples will allow us to be able to obtain statistical significance between disease groups (i.e., normals vs solid tumour group). Analysis of the data by disease groups shows that there is a significant difference in the number of DCs in children with newly diagnosed solid tumours and leukemia when compared to normal, healthy children. This is a novel finding and provides important information towards understanding the role of the immune function in children with cancer.

Additionally, we have investigated the quality of the DC in both normal children and in children with newly diagnosed cancer. We have shown statistically significant differences of expression of co-stimulatory molecules on the DCs. Importantly, of the ten molecules of interest examined not all show differences between the groups. Therefore the three molecules that show marked reductions in the children with cancer may point to particular defects in the immune function that we can then target for future therapeutics.

Additionally we have performed functional studies on the immune cells of these patients. We have found that compared to normal children, children with newly diagnosed cancer have a significantly reduced ability to proliferate in response to a stimulus. This is a novel finding. Particularly, the impaired response in the solid tumour patient group has been of great interest, as their diseases do not involve the immune system per se. This work may have implications for future novel therapies.

In summary, we have collected a large amount of data on these newly diagnosed patient cohorts and are in the process of doing these analyses. We have completed the recruitment and experimental stages of this project. We anticipate being able to submit the manuscript for publication in a top peer reviewed journal within a few months.