Researchers at the Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute have made progress in have identifying a new immune cells subset only seen in lesions associated with Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (LCH) lesions.
This research has been recently recognised and published in international medical journal, Acta Paediatrica. It is hoped that these findings will lead to a better way to treat patients with LCH. ‘’Langerhans cell histiocytosis: A malignant myeloid neoplasm or disorder of immune regulation?”
Dr Jenée Mitchell and Professor George Kannourakis
Journal: Acta Paediatrica June 2021
LCH is a rare type of cancer, mostly found in children. It results in lesions forming in any organ, which can lead to organ dysfunction and permanent damage. The lesions, which are often found in the bone and skin, contain mutated immune cells called ‘LCH cells’ along with a range of other immune cells, which create an inflammatory environment and tissue damage.
Professor George Kannourakis, Honorary Director at FECRI, and an Oncologist and Haematologist with years of experience in treating and monitoring patients with LCH, has worked with researchers and clinicians around the world on this condition. The immunology-based research led by Professor Kannourakis at the Ballarat based Institute, has advanced the understanding of LCH and created promising leads on how we can target the immune system to combat this.
This published research undertaken by Dr Jenee Mitchell, reviews the groups research over 23 years, indicating the major role of immune cells and in particular T cells, in forming lesions in patients with LCH. This includes seminal discoveries, with the identification of a new immune cells subset only seen in LCH lesions
This research has major implications on how patients with LCH are treated. Therapies based on modulating the immune response in LCH targeting these cell subsets may prevent patients receiving intensive chemotherapy.