Ashley Burton


Spring 2022

Faculty Advisor

Susan Murray


College of Arts & Sciences




Due to the diversity and breadth of cancer characteristics, the study and elimination of cancerous cells is a daunting task. Despite this diversity cancer cell share common characteristics such as anti‐apoptotic mechanisms and avoidance of immune destruction. The importance of the immune system in counteracting these diverse characteristics has only recently begun to be appreciated but involvement of the immune system is quickly becoming an essential component in the development of novel cancer therapies. The following study aims to elucidate the effect of SMAC mimetics, a class of targeted therapy drugs, on T cells and their potentially induced proliferation and activation. As previously reported, SMAC mimetics killed tumor cells and activated non‐canonical NF‐kB in T cells at clinically relevant doses. Surprisingly, none of the SMAC mimetics augmented T cell proliferation or effector function. These results question the assumption that SMAC mimetics are likely to boost anti‐tumor immunity in cancer patients.


Immunology--Research; Immunopharmacology; T cells; Cytology; Cancer

Publication Information

Copyright for this work is retained by the author.

BIO493HA Senior Honor's Project.

Document Type

Student Project