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It takes a brain to control immunity and fight cancer: Neuronal mechanisms of placebo - Asya Rolls

Stanford Neurosciences Institute, Asya Rolls
September 29, 2017 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm
Clark Center S360

It takes a brain to control immunity and fight cancer: Neuronal mechanisms of placebo

Asya Rolls, PhD
HHMI-Wellcome trust international scholar
Technion, Israel Institute of Technology


Thoughts and emotions, can impact physiology. This connection is evident by the emergence of disease following stress, or recovery in response to placebo treatment. Nevertheless, this fundamental aspect of physiology remains largely unexplored. We have recently shown that activity of the brain’s reward system, which is active during positive emotional states and positive expectations, boosts anti-bacterial immunity. In this talk, I will discuss how brain activity can regulate anti-tumor immunity and the potential implications to cancer therapy. Given the crucial role of the reward system in emotional processes, our findings offer a new mechanistic insight to the association between the patient’s psychological state and cancer progression.