Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Depletion of ‘traitor’ immune cells slows cancer growth in mice

17.09.2013
When a person has cancer, some of the cells in his or her body have changed and are growing uncontrollably.

Most cancer drugs try to treat the disease by killing those fast-growing cells, but another approach called immunotherapy tries to stimulate a person’s own immune system to attack the cancer itself.


Maryelise Cieslewicz, University of Washington

A stained cross-section of a mouse tumor. In this image, red areas are macrophages, and green indicates the presence of the peptide that can bind with macrophages in cancer cells.

Now, scientists at the University of Washington have developed a strategy to slow tumor growth and prolong survival in mice with cancer by targeting and destroying a type of cell that dampens the body’s immune response to cancer. The researchers published their findings the week of Sept. 16 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“We’re really enthusiastic about these results because they suggest an alternative drug target that could be synergistic with current treatments,” said co-author Suzie Pun, a UW associate professor of bioengineering.

Our immune system normally patrols for and eliminates abnormal cells. Macrophages are a type of helpful immune cell that can be converted to the “dark side” by signals they receive from a tumor. When inside a tumor, macrophages can switch from helping the immune system to suppressing the body’s immune response to cancer. Several studies show a correlation between the number of macrophages in tumor biopsies and poor prognosis for patients, Pun said.

The UW team developed a method to target and eliminate the cancer-supporting macrophages in mouse tumors. Researchers predict this strategy could be used along with current treatments such as chemotherapy for cancer patients.

“We think this would amplify cancer treatments and hopefully make them better,” Pun said.

Scientists have a strong understanding of the behavior of macrophages in tumors, but most current methods to remove them do away with all macrophages in the body indiscriminately instead of targeting only the harmful ones that live in tumors.

In this study, UW bioengineering doctoral student Maryelise Cieslewicz designed a method to find a specific amino-acid sequence – or a peptide – that binds only the harmful macrophages in tumors and ignores helpful ones in the bodies of mice. When this sequence was injected into mice with cancer, the research team found that the peptide collected in the macrophage cells within tumors, leaving alone other healthy organs.

Once they discovered they could deliver the peptide sequence to specific cells, the researchers attached another peptide to successfully kill the harmful macrophages without affecting other cells. The mice had slower tumor growth and better survival when treated with this material.

The research team plans to test this method with existing cancer drugs to hopefully boost the success of other treatments.

The peptide sequence that successfully bound to harmful macrophages in mice doesn’t bind to their counterparts in humans, Pun said, but the researchers expect soon to find a similar peptide that targets human cells. They plan to use this method to investigate treatments for other types of cancer, including breast and pancreatic cancers.

The Pun research team collaborated with the UW labs of Elaine Raines in pathology and André Lieber in medical genetics on this study.

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and a National Science Foundation fellowship.

For more information, contact Pun at spun@uw.edu or 206-685-3488.

Michelle Ma | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uw.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht NIH scientists illuminate causes of hepatitis b virus-associated acute liver failure
14.11.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

nachricht Fish recognize their prey by electric colors
13.11.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

NIH scientists illuminate causes of hepatitis b virus-associated acute liver failure

14.11.2018 | Life Sciences

The unintended consequences of dams and reservoirs

14.11.2018 | Earth Sciences

NIH scientists combine technologies to view the retina in unprecedented detail

14.11.2018 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>