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Polygence Scholar2021
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Sailesh Gunaseelan

Silver Creek High SchoolClass of 2022San Jose, California



  • "The Cancer Treatment We've Been Looking For: Our Own Body" with mentor Nooriel (Aug. 26, 2021)

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The Cancer Treatment We've Been Looking For: Our Own Body

Started Mar. 22, 2021

Abstract or project description

The human immune system does a remarkable job protecting us against foreign invaders like viruses and bacteria and over the last decade we have learned that it can also be effective in killing cancer cells. Cancer immunology is the study of how immune cells interact with cancer cells. Research in the last decade has shown that cancer cells can “hide” from the immune system allowing them to grow unbothered by our natural defense system. Immunosuppressive proteins expressed by cancer cells as “stop” signals for our immune system when recognized by immune cells. The last 10 years have seen an increase in immunotherapeutic drugs which block these “stop” signals from working effectively turning the immune system back “on” and allowing our bodies to fight the growing tumor. Chemotherapy has been a life-saving treatment for a lot of cancer patients, however chemotherapy kills healthy cells as well as cancer cells. Immunotherapy’s promise is to effectively kill cancer cells while leaving healthy cells untouched making it the preferred treatment for cancer patients. This review paper will describe the background in cancer immunology detailing how the immune system normally finds foreign invaders, how it kills them, how cancer cells “hide” and how immunotherapeutic drugs stop them from “hiding”.