New IRB study: finding on the influence of Myc in NK cells

Dr. Hanif Javanmard Khameneh, Alessandro Zenobi, Prof. Greta Guarda
Dr. Hanif Javanmard Khameneh, Alessandro Zenobi, Prof. Greta Guarda

Institutional Communication Service

12 May 2023

This collaborative study, mainly centered at Bios+ (Bellinzona Institutes of Science), reveals the importance of the transcription factor and proto-oncogene Myc in maintaining Natural Killer (NK) cells’ development, translational machinery, and anticancer immunity. The data, published in the Life Science Alliance Journal, are relevant when considering the potential side effects and benefits of long sought-after Myc-blocking therapies.

Bellinzona, May 12, 2023 – The study, led by Prof. Guarda, Group Leader of the Laboratory “Immune Mechanisms” of the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB), affiliated to the Università della Svizzera italiana (USI), shows how Myc is important for Natural Killer (NK) cell development and anticancer immunity. MYC is indeed a pleiotropic transcription factor involved in cancer, cell proliferation, and metabolism whose regulation and function in NK cells remained poorly understood.

This work shows that Myc is required for the NK cells’ response to the key cytokine interleukin (IL)-15, which induces Myc through transcriptional and post-translational mechanisms. Further, these results indicate that Myc is a central factor linking IL-15 to NK cell translational fitness, expansion of mature cancer-fighting NK cells, and antitumor immunity.

This study, recently published in the Life Science Alliance Journal and carried out in collaboration with colleagues from the Institute of Oncology Research (IOR), the Heidelberg Institute for Stem Cell Technology and Experimental Medicine Heidelberg (Germany), the Centre d’Immunologie de Marseille-Luminy (France), the University of Lausanne, the Oncology Institute of Southern Switzerland and BigOmics Analytics SA, suggests that caution shall be taken when prospecting the use of MYC inhibitors and NK cell-based immunotherapies.