Dr. Rahim is trying to unlock the mystery of how breast cancer outfoxes the body’s immune system. Collaborating with Caroline Hamm of the Windsor Regional Cancer Centre, Rahim believes new treatments may lie in how breast cancer interacts with specific proteins, called receptors, on the surface of immune cells.
The body’s immune system includes “natural killer cells” which search for, find, and kill unhealthy cells. Natural killer cells use receptors to distinguish between healthy cells and cancerous ones. These receptors both activate the killer cells and inhibit them.
The research work is focused on identifying and studying the function of the inhibitory receptors in natural killer cells and evaluating their potential as targets for immunotherapy against breast cancer.