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An important role in regulating immune response played by disruption of VISTA

Researchers at the have found that the body’s response was enhanced when they disrupted , a protein that prevents the from overreacting. Understanding how checkpoint regulators like VISTA function is important to cancer researchers, who hope to use the to attack tumors. The study, “VISTA deficiency synergizes with a nonredundant immune checkpoint pathway and leads to enhanced immune activation,” was presented at the Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA.

“Because there are multiple immune suppressive pathways, disrupting a single pathway like VISTA might not have led us to obvious alterations in the immune response,” said Li Wang, PhD, assistant professor of Microbiology and Immunology at Geisel. “Our data showed clear chronic inflammation due to VISTA deficiency, which leads us to conclude that VISTA likely plays an important role in regulating immunity.”

Wang and her colleagues hope to build on these findings to define the molecular pathway involved in VISTA-mediated immune regulation.

This work is supported by NIH grant CA164225 (L.W.), (L.W.), Hitchcock Foundation Research grant (L.W.), AI048667 (R.J.N), Wellcome Trust (R.J.N) and the Medical Research Council Centre for Transplantation and Biomedical Research Center at King’s College London (RJN). Conflicts of interest: The authors RJN and LW are involved with ImmuNext Inc. and receive financial support for the development of anti-VISTA for immunotherapy.

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Norris Cot­ton Cancer Center are presenting their findings at the 105th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. The meeting is being held April 5-9, 2014 in San Diego, CA with 18,000 researchers, patient advocates and other cancer field professionals from around the world scheduled to be in attendance.

The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth