Our immune systems protect us from infection, help heal wounds and eliminate diseases, including cancer. To do this, they need ways to distinguish harmful components from healthy ones and detect the ongoing sampling or turnover of tissues—in other words, they must perform adequate surveillance. But during illnesses, this surveillance system can fail, letting pathogens and tumour cells slip through.
Dr. Spencer Freeman, Canada Research Chair in Immune Surveillance, is working to understand the mechanisms underlying immune surveillance. Using multidisciplinary approaches, he and his research team are uncovering mechanisms of immune surveillance, from single molecules to cells to entire populations. Ultimately, their findings will lead to strategies that will help alleviate a wide range of diseases.