CD8 T cells can kill malignant cells in an antigen-specific manner. However, anti-tumoral responses are usually limited by suppressive factors that curb the effector responses of tumor-infiltrating CD8 T cells. Therapeutic strategies to overcome intra-tumoral T cell suppression, for example immune checkpoint inhibition, have been clinically effective in patients with cancer. Here, we provide data that demonstrates that GK-1, a peptide derived from the parasite Taenia crassiceps, promotes an anti-melanoma CD8 T cell response with heightened effector characteristics that leads to an increased amount of tumor-infiltrating CD44+ IFN-γ-producing CD8 T cells. The response induced by GK-1 was associated with a reduction in the expression of PD-1 and PD-L1 on tumor-infiltrating CD8 and dendritic cells, respectively, effects that led to a dramatic decrease in tumor burden. Our results suggest that the immunomodulatory properties of GK-1 may promote a CD8 T cell response that may be therapeutically useful in the setting of cancer.
Keywords: CD8 T cell; GK-1; Melanoma; PD-1.
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