Seattle Children’s Hospital Research Institute

Structure of Hope

Mixed Metal, Paint


T cells are the immune system’s security force, patrolling the body to protect against illness and infection. When T cells go on patrol, they use specialized “receptors” to identify cells that are infected with bacteria or viruses.

The two protein chains that make up the T cell receptor are represented in this sculpture by copper and steel material. The long rods represent the part of the receptor that anchors it to the surface of the T cell and the steel circles are the part of the receptor that attach to the body’s infected cells.

Our researchers are building receptors that enable T cells to recognize cancer cells, allowing a child’s immune system to wipe out their cancer. We are also applying this approach to many other diseases, providing hope for a life-long cure without debilitating side effects.