Many patients suffering from leukemia die to common infections due to the lack of their immune system functioning properly, as opposed to the cancer itself. Scientists have discovered that cancer cells in Leukemia are able to secrete molecules which shut down the immune system, thereby making these patients very vulnerable to infections and disease. “We can treat their cancer with chemotherapy, but we can’t restore patient’s immune system, which makes them very susceptible to infection,” Prof Mackay said. This research group was able to block the molecules that dismember the immune system in animal models, which further allowed the immune system fight the cancer itself. “It’s really exciting that in an animal model of the leukaemia we are able to stop the toxic factor and show that the immune system can get back on track reduce the tumour burden,” Prof MacKay said.