Carmel Valley CCA junior participates in research that discovered how the body’s immune system fights cancer

Canyon Crest Academy student Esther Peluso is co-author of a manuscript published this month in the prestigious journal “Science.” The manuscript describes the research that she took part in as a summer intern at La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology.

The study, headed by Dr. Hanna, provides critical insights in the role of a special type of immune cells, termed patrolling monocytes, in cancer growth and metastasis. The research team discovered that these “non-classical” patrolling monocytes actually protect against tumor progression, while “classical” monocytes promote tumor growth.

This discovery changes the general accepted role of monocytes in tumor growth and will give the biopharmaceutical industry new avenues to fight cancer. Esther participated in the study by quantifying tumor growth in mice, performing RNA assays, and researching genes that play a role in immune responses. She enjoys science and hopes to have additional opportunities like these in the future to learn and contribute to new scientific breakthroughs that will improve human health.

At CCA, Esther is actively involved in other extracurricular science programs such as Science Olympiad where she competes against other high schools both as a contestant and a coach.

Manuscript reference: Science. 2015 Nov 20; 350(6263)