Goodnight Cancer: Can Controlling Circadian Rhythms Enable the Innate Immune System to Eradicate Cancer Cells?

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Feb 12 2021 27 mins   9

Is it possible to synchronize the biological clocks of immune cells and tumor cells to bypass cancer’s ability to avoid the human body’s defense system? Maria Casanova Acebes, Postdoctoral fellow at Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine, believes that it absolutely is.

Tune in to discover:

  • Differences between the innate and adaptive immune systems
  • The connection between circadian rhythms, macrophages, and cancer cells
  • A new immunotherapy approach for treating lung carcinoma and other common cancers

A circadian rhythm is an internal process that triggers behavioral changes in relation to light and dark cycles on a 24-hour schedule. Every living being, whether nocturnal or diurnal, is affected by these changes. Maria’s research group, the Cancer Immunity Group, studies the connection between circadian rhythms, the immune system, and the development of cancer cells and tumors. So far, studies have shown that animals whose circadian rhythms are disrupted become more susceptible to diseases, including viruses and cancers.

The innate immune system, which is the immune system humans are born with, features signaling cells known as neutrophils, monocytes, and macrophages. These cells are heavily influenced by circadian rhythms. Maria hypothesizes that cancer cells have their own internal clocks that are able to tune into and mimic the circadian rhythms of the tissues they infect. Is this how they evade the human immune system? By synchronizing the internal clocks of both cancer cells and immune system cells, can we teach our immune systems to eliminate cancer?

The Cancer Immunity Group’s approach to immunotherapy could lead to major breakthroughs in a number of the most common areas of cancer treatment and diagnosis, including lung adenocarcinoma pathology and lung adenocarcinoma staging, and management of more treatment resistant cancers such as esophagus cancer.

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