Principal Investigator: Dr Nadeem Riaz
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, USATags: 46325, cancer, immune system, population genetics
Sometimes mutations can arise during normal cellular processes. In most cases the cells containing these mutations are detected and destroyed by the immune system, preventing cancer formation. However, not everyone has the same immune system – so not everyone can fight cancer the same way. The reason people differ, is because, there are many genes that encode the immune system, and many more genes that indirectly influence how the immune system works. The critical importance of the immune system is further highlighted by a recent breakthrough in cancer treatment, known as immunotherapy. This is where the patient’s own immune system is used to fight cancer. This therapy has been very successful – however some patients fail to respond. We would like to compare the genetic data within the UK biobank to the cancer and death registries, to determine whether differences in immune genes are related to cancer susceptibility. Our work is likely to aid our understanding of how cancer forms, predict who might be more susceptible to cancer and better tailor current cancer treatments to each individual. We expect our project will take 24 months to complete.We believe our project fits with the UK Biobank’s purpose by providing immune related insight – that can aid in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer, and it also fits in with the UK biobank’s mission of being health-related and in the public interest.