T-cells are a population of white blood cells within our immune system that are critical to our defence against disease. T-cells process our dietary fuels (e.g., carbohydrates, protein and fat) to generate energy and building blocks required to generate and maintain a successful immune response. This process is called immune cell metabolism. Unfortunately, T-cells are dysfunctional in certain conditions such as various autoimmune disorders (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis and lupus*) and cancer (e.g., T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia**). As a result of this dysfunction, T-cells derived from these patients have an altered metabolism. Excitingly, targeting this altered metabolic profile either in autoimmunity or leukaemia could lead to the development of new drugs and ultimately enter the clinic.
*It is estimated globally that there are 5 million people living with the autoimmune disease Lupus and a further 18 million with rheumatoid arthritis. **In the UK there is an average of 791 cases each year of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, mainly affecting very young children between 0 – 4 years old.