The ability to discriminate between friend and foe or between “self“ and “foreign” is vital for a functioning immune system. There are numerous protective mechanisms at work to save the body’s own tissue from attacks by misguided immune cells. A pivotal role is played by regulatory T cells (Treg cells), which prevent immune reactions against the body’s own structures by suppressing the aggressiveness of particular immune cells called T helper cells.
Malignant tumors actively attract Treg cells and, thus, slow down immune defense to protect themselves against elimination. This is suggested by results just published by Associate Professor Dr. Philipp Beckhove jointly with colleagues from the German Cancer Research Center in collaboration with Professor Jürgen Weitz, Dr. Hubertus Schmitz-Winnenthal and other colleagues from the Heidelberg University Hospitals.
In tissue samples of pancreatic cancer the researchers found a much higher number of Treg cells than in samples obtained from regions of the organ that were not affected by cancer. For other immune cells, such as T helper cells, they found no such differences.
Cells of the immune system, including regulatory T cells, are called to their site of action by specific “address molecules“ on the surface of blood vessel cells (endothelial cells). The presence of address molecules is the signal for immune cells patrolling in the bloodstream to squeeze through the vessel wall in order to enter the adjacent tissue. Beckhove and colleagues have shown that Treg cells easily pass through a layer of endothelial cells isolated from tumor tissue. If, however, the endothelial cells originate from healthy tissue, then a significantly lower number of Treg cells make their way through the layer of cells. The researchers also discovered why this is so: Endothelial cells from tumor tissue carry significantly more address molecules on their surface than vessel cells from healthy regions of the pancreas. When the investigators made these adresses invisible using specific antibodies, the Treg accumulation in the tumor tissue was stopped.
“Treatment possibilities for pancreatic carcinoma, in particular, are still insufficient. Specific antibodies preventing the accumulation of Treg cells in the tumor and, thus, strengthening immune defense, might be a useful therapeutic option,” says Phillip Beckhove to explain the relevance of these results.
The task of the Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum in Heidelberg (German Cancer Research Center, DKFZ) is to systematically investigate the mechanisms of cancer development and to identify cancer risk factors. The results of this basic research are expected to lead to new approaches in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The Center is financed to 90 percent by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and to 10 percent by the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg. It is a member of the Helmholtz Association of National Research Centers (Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft Deutscher Forschungszentren e.V.).
Press Officer | alfa
A promising target for kidney fibrosis
21.04.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital
Stem cell transplants: activating signal paths may protect from graft-versus-host disease
20.04.2017 | Technische Universität München
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...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
25.04.2017 | Materials Sciences
25.04.2017 | Life Sciences