Understanding gamma delta T cell function in colorectal cancer metastasis

Year of award: 2017


  • Dr Seth Coffelt

    University of Glasgow

Project summary

Metastatic disease and its complications are responsible for the vast majority of cancer-related deaths. In the metastatic process, immune cells function paradoxically: some cells prevent metastasis while other cells promote metastasis. We have shown how distinct immune cell subsets cooperate to support breast cancer metastasis by suppressing other anti-metastatic immune cells. This cooperation occurs between gamma delta T cells and neutrophils to inhibit cytotoxic T-lymphocytes. Gamma delta T cells are a rare population of cells that express a T cell receptor, function like innate immune cells and reside in mucosal tissues. Although we defined the role of gamma delta T cells in breast cancer metastasis, their function during metastasis in other cancer types is entirely unknown.

We will investigate the role of these cells during colorectal cancer metastasis. We will use a novel, spontaneous metastasis model of colorectal cancer metastasis.

The data generated from these experiments will improve our understanding of basic metastasis biology and gamma delta T cell biology and will uncover potential immunotherapeutic approaches for patients with metastatic disease.