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Introduction of the Immunology working group on an international level

As part of the National laboratory project on Infectious Animal Diseases, Antimicrobial Resistance, Veterinary Public Health, and Food Chain Safety, two members of the Immunology working group represented our university at prestigious conferences.

Dominik Gulyás presented a poster at the “AACR Special Conference in Cancer Research: Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy” held in Toronto and held a presentation at the “Updates in Cancer Novel Immunotherapies” conference organized by the renowned Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. At the latter event, the leader of the working group, Dr. Márta Lőrincz, also represented our university.

The knowledge shared at the conference and the detailed understanding of the infrastructure and technical background used by the presenters shed new light on their research processes and results. While some of the research methods presented at the conference are not yet accessible to us, it is noteworthy that our findings held significant importance even in this environment. The professional and personal reception was exceptionally positive.

During the conference, our working group presented the following results: Activation of the Retinoic Acid-Inducible Gene I (RIG-I) signalling pathway may promote cell death in certain types of tumours, enhancing two specialized cells for tumour destruction (natural killer cells and effector T cells) and the dendritic cell responsible for activating the latter. In our experiment, various RIG-I agonists were applied as adjuvants, including commercially available substances for laboratory use and compounds designed by us. The study aimed to determine the effectiveness of these compounds in a mouse model of renal adenocarcinoma. The effectiveness of the administered substances was evaluated in mice inoculated with cancer cells, considering survival times, changes in tumour size, the presence of metastases, and alterations in various cytokine levels.

On the 38th day after tumour implantation, the survival rates in the treated groups were at least 50%, 60%, and 70% for each test substance, all significantly surpassing the 20% survival rate in the control group. No significant differences in tumour size were observed on the 17th day. On the 24th day, significantly smaller tumours were found in all three groups. By the 31st day, the groups treated with commercially available substances had significantly smaller tumours than the control group.

Differences in tumour characteristics were also noted: animals receiving treatment showed demarcation, while the untreated control group exhibited more severe diffuse, necrotic tumours. The occurrence of metastases was significantly lower in all three treatment groups than in the untreated group. Cytokine levels followed the expected pattern, with an increase in the level of one of the inflammatory cytokines and a decrease in the anti-inflammatory cytokine.

These results are promising, as all treatments demonstrated significant anti-tumour effects in all examined parameters, including extended survival time, reduced primary tumour size, and mitigated metastasis formation. We believe this experiment provides a solid foundation for further research, primarily focusing on repeated or prolonged treatments.