Grants awarded

Molecular mechanisms controlling cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) killing: from genes to secretion  


Prof Gillian Griffiths

University of Cambridge

United Kingdom

There are five million potential killer cells in every teaspoon of our blood. These remarkable cells circulate around our bodies recognising and destroying cells infected with viruses or cancer cells with remarkable 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 want to work out the contribution of each part of the killer cell.  

We will study killer cells in which the new genes are missing to see where things go wrong. We will film live killer cells and pinpoint the differences. 

New cancer therapies aimed at helping killer cells are proving effective. By understanding exactly how killer cells work, clinicians will be able to improve these therapies.