How does pancreatic cancer affect the immune system?

The research of Greg Beatty, MD, PhD, centers on the ways in which pancreatic cancer teaches our immune systems to help them grow and spread, cloaking themselves to avoid detection.

The body’s immune system has the ability to identify cancer cells as enemies and destroy them. But in many cases, this doesn't occur, and the cancer cells are able to interact with surrounding tissue and the immune system to help promote their growth.

Dr. Beatty calls this "bad education," and is working on approaches to send the immune system "back to school," re-educating it to attack and destroy cancer cells. Pre-clinical research has yielded positive results, and a clinical trial that utilizes an antibody known as CD40 to treat metastatic pancreatic cancer is under way at Penn.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.