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!
Millions through license revenues
27.04.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences