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Researchers unlock key secrets showing how tumors hide from immune system

Tampa, FL (Jan. 8, 2004) -- In one of the biggest advances to come from the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute in its 16-year history, researchers have unlocked at least part of the mystery of how tumors flourish undetected by keeping their presence a secret from sentries of the body's immune system.

"Flying beneath the radar" is how Nature Reviews Cancer (http://www.nature.com/cgi-taf/DynaPage.taf?file=/nrc/journal/v4/n1/full/nrc1261_fs.html) labels the mechanism of tumors evading capture, a process described by Hua Yu, Ph.D., and her colleagues at Moffitt and the University of South Florida College of Medicine. Their findings are published in the current issue of the journal Nature Medicine.

"Cancer is allowed to wreak havoc on the body's immune system because it knows how to fool the body's defensive arsenal," explains Jack Pledger, Ph.D., Associate Center Director for Basic Science and Professor of Biochemistry at USF. "The discoveries of Dr. Yu give us vital information about how tumors stay 'invisible.' It opens the way for new treatments to help flush the cancer cells into the open, so the body's armies against disease can destroy them."

Yu is an Associate Professor in the USF Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology and the Immunology Program at Moffitt. Her coauthors on the study include Drew Pardoll, M.D., Ph.D., from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, together with Richard Jove, Ph.D., and William Dalton, Ph.D., M.D., both from Moffitt and USF. Other authors include Tianhong Wang, Ph.D.., Guilian Niu, Ph.D., Lyudmila Burdelya, Ph.D., and Marcin Kortylewski, Ph.D. The study is titled "Regulation of the innate and adaptive immune responses by Stat3 signaling in tumor cells."

The researchers documented that the tumor's activation of Stat3 (from the STAT family of proteins that regulates
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Contact: Andrea Brunais
MediaRelations@moffitt.usf.edu
813-632-1478
University of South Florida Health
9-Jan-2004


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