Performing biomedical research on immunity to foster the development of vaccines, treatments and cures for many life-threatening diseases, including cancer, tuberculosis and influenza.
More than half a million Americans die each year from cancer. Identifying new ways to boost the human body's immune system to ward off cancer development is an important area of study for scientists in the Trudeau Institute's Cancer and Aging Research Program. Our investigators are examining why defects in the immune system arise with aging, how these defects impact vaccinations in the aged, and how they might be addressed by modifying vaccines to improve their efficacy.
Trudeau researchers are also addressing the important question of how tumor cells "hide out" and evade the immune system. A better understanding of this process should enable investigators to devise ways of educating the immune system to better detect and eradicate cancer cells from the body. Our investigators have found two types of immune system cells that can destroy tumors if grown outside the body, in this case a mouse's, and injected back in. Each cell type is effective against a specific type of tumor, skin or lung, and each appears to produce different chemicals that mediate destruction of the tumor. A more thorough understanding of these "killer" cells may point toward new therapies effective against these and other types of cancer.
Since its founding in 1884, the Trudeau Institute has been committed to improving health through medical research. Our scientists receive major grants and awards in support and recognition of their research from the National Institutes of Health.