The objective of my work as a DPhil student in the Powrie Lab is to understand the cellular and molecular pathways by which interleukin-10 deficient regulatory T cells contribute to the development and progression of colorectal cancer.
Transfer of CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells from spleens of 129SvEv.IL-10-/- mice greatly accelerated and increased the tumourigenesis in 129SvEv.RAG-/- recipients infected with the pathobiont, Helicobacter hepaticus. In less than 3 months, mice showed macroscopic tumour lesions in the colon and invasive carcinomas were confirmed by histological analysis.
More specifically, we seek to identify new mechanisms by which lack of adequate T cell regulation in the gut can drive formation of aggressive, invasive colon adenocarcinomas. Additionally, we aim to study the dynamics of fibrosis occurring during chronic inflammation and inflammation-driven cancer.