Thursday Seminar: Orsolya Vincze



Orsolya Vincze


Title of the talk: “Cancer risk across the tree of life and the role of the immune system in shaping this” Abstract: Cancer is one of the leading causes of mortality in humans, and – while it’s seriously overlooked – it also represents a significant and frequent pathology of domestic and wild animals. Despite the latter knowledge, research on cancer still focuses on humans or laboratory model organisms (e.g. mice). This largely limits our ability to drive conclusions regarding the frequency, taxonomic distribution, risk factors or physiological defences against cancer in non-model organisms, or to define general rules about cancer. Studying cancer across multiple animal species is both an important source of knowledge and an untapped resource of inspiration for novel cancer treatments. In my talk, I’m going to present data on cross-species variability in cancer risk of vertebrates, their phylogenetic patterns and species characteristics that influence this, using high-resolution data on hundreds of species. Moreover, due to the prominent role of the immune system in cancer defence, and the known cross-species variability in immune physiology and cancer risk, we also aimed to test how species-specific immune physiology predicts cancer risk across the tree of life. I will present preliminary results on the latter explorations and present pioneering evidence for the cancer immunosurveillance hypothesis on a cross-species scale, highlighting the evolutionary link between cancer and the immune system.
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