VISTA Keeps the Immune System Quiet Against Cancer

Randolph Noelle, PhD, is the Thomas S. Kosasa, MD, Professor at Geisel and member of the Immunology and Cancer Immunotherapy Research Program at NCCC. Noelle is the co-founder of ImmuNext, a company that develops immunoregulatory drugs.

A team of researchers at Dartmouth’s and Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Norris Cotton Cancer Center (NCCC), led by Randolph Noelle, PhD, have identified some of the molecules that the immune system uses to temper immunity. While these molecules are usually good, they also limit the magnitude of the immune response to cancer. The team has learned that turning off these “brakes” on immunity allows a stronger therapeutic response to cancer. VISTA is one of these molecules. 

“We have learned that keeping your immune system quiet is a challenging and very active process,” says Noelle. “VISTA may be a valuable target in regulating the immune response in cancer and autoimmunity.”

An antibody specific to VISTA identified by the Noelle Lab is currently in Phase I clinical trials at Dartmouth-Hitchcock.