Immune cells may be responsible for drug resistance in melanoma patients, according to research published in Cancer Discovery.
Cancer Research UK scientists at The University of Manchester found that chemical signals produced by a type of immune cell, called macrophages, also act as a survival signal for melanoma cells.
When the researchers blocked the macrophages' ability to make this signal - called TNF alpha - melanoma tumours were much smaller and easier to treat.
When melanoma patients are given chemotherapy or radiotherapy it causes inflammation, increasing the number of macrophages in the body – and raising the levels of TNF alpha. This research suggests that targeting this chemical 'survival signal' could lead to new ways to treat the disease.
Dr Claudia Wellbrock, study author and Cancer Research UK scientist at The University of Manchester and member of the Manchester Cancer Research Centre, said: "This discovery shows that immune cells can actually help melanoma cells to survive. Particularly when patients are receiving treatment, the immune cells produce more of the survival signal, which makes treatment less effective. So combining standard treatment with immunotherapy at the same time could potentially provide more long-lasting and effective treatments to increase survival."
Melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer with around 13,300 people diagnosed in the UK each year. Rates of the disease have increased more than fivefold since the mid 1970s.
Professor Richard Marais, director of the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute and co-author of the study, said: "Melanoma is particularly difficult to treat as many patients develop resistance to standard treatment within a few years. This research provides a key insight into why this is the case.
"Drugs which block this 'survival signal' have already been developed and using these along with standard treatment may be a promising new approach for melanoma patients."
Cancer Research UK joined forces with The Christie NHS Foundation Trust and The University of Manchester to form the Manchester Cancer Research Centre allowing doctors and scientists to work closely together to turn scientific advances into patient benefits sooner.
Smith et al. The immune-microenvironment confers resistance to MAP kinase pathway inhibitors through macrophage-derived TNFα (2014). Cancer Discovery.
Greg Jones | Eurek Alert!
GLUT5 fluorescent probe fingerprints cancer cells
20.04.2018 | Michigan Technological University
Scientists re-create brain neurons to study obesity and personalize treatment
20.04.2018 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.
Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...
Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.
The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...
Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.
Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...
In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
09.04.2018 | Event News
20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research
20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy