Lay Research Summary
Within every teaspoon of our blood are 5 million potential killer cells. These are remarkable little cells that circulate around our bodies recognizing and destroying virally infected and cancer cells with extraordinary specificity and precision. We have discovered new genes that suggest that many different components within killer cells play a part in delivering the lethal hit. We wish to work out how each part of the killer cell contributes. We study killer cells in which the new genes are missing to see where things go wrong. We are able to film live killer cells and pin-point what is different in each case.
This is particularly important right now as new cancer therapies in medicine aimed at helping killer cells are proving very effective. By understanding exactly how killer cells work, scientists will be able to devise better therapies.