News coverage for Drs Kerry Fisher and Joshua Freedman
Research by Dr Kerry Fisher and Dr Joshua Freedman was covered by The Independent and The Sun on 19 November.
One of the problems we face in killing tumours is that the tumours often recruit healthy cells to help them grow and to protect them from attack. In this case tumours often recruit fibroblasts to help them shape their local environment and protect them from the immune system.
Kerry and Joshua have engineered a virus so that it both attacks tumour cells directly, and also attacks the fibroblasts, which are supporting the tumour. The virus attacks the tumour cells and in doing so forces, the tumour cells to make a protein, which binds to fibroblasts and sticks them to and immune cell called a T-cell. The T-cells are triggered to attack and destroy the fibroblasts helping to undermine the support that the tumour is replying on.
People have tried to attack fibroblast before, but this often causes widespread destruction of fibroblasts, whereas this work targets the tumour-associated fibroblasts which are supporting the tumour.