Cancer and the Immune System: A Double-Edged Sword

Cell surface sugars can promote or inhibit cancer depending upon stage

During cancer development, tumor cells decorate their surfaces with sugar compounds called glycans that are different from those found on normal, healthy cells. In the Sept. 15 online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine report that sialic acids at the tips of these cancer cell glycans are capable of engaging with immune system cells and changing the latter’s response to the tumor – for good and bad. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Ajit Varki, MDPrincipal investigator of the study is Ajit Varki, MD, distinguished professor of medicine and cellular medicine, member of the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center and co-director of both the Glycobiology Research and Training Center and UCSD/Salk Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny (CARTA).

Stuck on Flu

How a sugar-rich mucus barrier traps the virus – and it gets free to infect

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have shown for the first time how influenza A viruses snip through a protective mucus net to both infect respiratory cells and later cut their way out to infect other cells. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego News Center


Dr. Robert T. "Chip" Schooley

Dr. Robert T. Schooley

Project co-investigators from the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Medicine are Robert T. “Chip” Schooley, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the division; associate project scientist Xing-Quan Zhang; and Hui-Wen Chen, now at the School of Veterinary Medicine at National Taiwan University.

Dr. Schooley is academic affairs vice chair for the Department of Medicine.

Citation for the study report in Virology Journal:

Miriam Cohen, Xing-Quan Zhang, Hooman P Senaati, Hui-Wen Chen, Nissi M Varki, Robert T Schooley, Pascal Gagneux. Influenza A penetrates host mucus by cleaving sialic acids with neuraminidase. Virology Journal 2013, 10:321 (22 November 2013) doi:10.1186/1743-422X-10-321.  |  Full text (Open access)

More news from the Division of Infectious Diseases:

 

Glycans Enter Mainstream of Biomedical Science

UC San Diego leads new national program to further develop the science of glycobiology

Scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have received a major 7-year, $18 million grant to begin translating emerging discoveries in the field of glycosciences into new discoveries and therapies related to heart, lung and blood diseases…. Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom

Dr. Ajit Varki

Principal investigator and project leader Ajit Varki, MD, is Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Co-Director of the Glycobiology Research and Training Center, and Co-Director of the UCSD/Salk Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny. | Read the project abstract