An international team of scientists found that after a vaccine-induced immune response, interleukin-7 (IL-7) improves antitumor activities and survival in an animal model of cancer.
The findings are published in Nature Medicine in a paper called “Adjuvant IL-7 antagonizes multiple cellular and molecular inhibitory networks to enhance immunotherapies.”
The scientists combined IL-7 with a viral vaccine and observed that together immunity to tumors was enhanced. They found that IL-6 production increased and T helper type 17 cell differentiation was augmented.
Furthermore, IL-7 modulated the expression of two ubiquitin ligases: Casitas B-lineage lymphoma b (Cbl-b), a negative regulator of T-cell activation, was repressed, and SMAD-specific E3 ubiquitin protein ligase-2 (Smurf2) was enhanced, which antagonizes transforming growth-factor signaling.
The scientists also explain that while short-term IL-7 therapy potently enhanced vaccine-mediated immunity, in the absence of vaccination it is inefficient in promoting antitumor immune responses, despite inducing homeostatic proliferation of T cells.