The researchers found that primary breast tumours expressed galectin-9, Tim- 3 and FLRT3, as well as two protein variants of LPHN - LPHN2 and LPHN3. Using SRCD spectroscopy, the team were able to prove the interaction between FLRT3 and LPHN2 that triggers the immune suppressive pathway in breast cancer cells.
Their work showed that breast tumours express significantly higher levels galectin-9 and Tim-3 than healthy breast tissue and suggests that both proteins are expressed by the same cells.
Using a model, the team were able to show that lymphocytes can attack breast cancer cells when galectin-9 is disabled.
The team then investigated nine more types of cancer and found their results applicable everywhere. Tim-3 and galectin-9 are far more active in cancer cells.
These findings demonstrate the activity of the Tim-3-galectin-9 biochemical pathway in several types of human cancer cells, as well as its possible role in the suppression of the immune system response.
The ultimate goal of this research is now to find the best way to disable the Tim-3-galectin-9. This could lead to therapies that allow our immune systems to attack cancer, reducing the need for more toxic treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which have severe side-effects for patients.
Dr Sumbayev and his team are already planning another visit to Diamond, for the next stage in this vital research.
To find out more about the B23 beamline, or to discuss potential applications, please contact Principal Beamline Scientist Giuliano Siligardi: firstname.lastname@example.org