The dendritic cells adopt an ingenious approach here - they not only produce special substances with a cell-damaging effect, they also manage to fight the tumour without the help of T and B cells and natural killer (NK) cells. This complex interaction was discovered by scientists participating in a doctoral programme of the Austrian Science Fund FWF. It was also recently published and commented on in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
For 15 years now the drug Imiquimod has been authorised for the treatment of certain skin diseases, including some types of skin cancer. And during that period, the drug, which is administered as a skin cream, has proven to be an effective treatment. Despite this therapeutic success, the drug´s exact mechanism of action was not known to date. However, a research group working with Prof. Maria Sibilia, Head of the Institute for Cancer Research at the Medical University of Vienna, has now succeeded in determining some unknown and surprising effects of Imiquimod (Imi) on special immune cells.CELLULAR INFANTRY
The group actually succeeded in demonstrating that CCL2 then causes the migration of additional immune system cells. The analysis of the subsequent activity of these immune cells generated a real surprise for the scientists: the immune cells, called plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs), were considered to be modulators up to now. However, in their reaction to Imi, they proved to be bona fide aggressors.FIGHTING STRATEGY
Overall, the team from the doctoral programme "Inflammation and Immunity" succeeded in discovering a new mechanism of action of dendritic cells in fighting tumours; it had never been possible before to observe such a direct attack on tumours by pDCs. Further studies will reveal the extent to which this discovery will benefit the development of innovative cancer therapies. Some important questions remain open, however, as Dr. Drobits explains: "It is known that some tumour cells produce CCL2 themselves. In other words, they should have triggered the same cascade as Imi. But this did not always result in a positive disease progression. We do not yet know why this is the case and it needs to be explained." In meeting challenges like this, the FWF´s doctoral programme once again proves that it is fulfilling an important goal: to give young scientists the opportunity to work at the vanguard of cutting-edge science.
Original publication: Imiquimod clears tumors in mice independent of adaptive immunity by converting pDCs into tumor-killing effector cells. B. Drobits, M. Holcmann, N. Amberg, M. Swiecki, R. Grundtner, M. Hammer, M. Colonna, and M. Sibilia. J Clin Invest. 2012;122(2):575 585. doi:10.1172/JCI61034.Picture and text available from Monday, March 26 2012, 9 am CET at:
Stefan Bernhardt | PR&D
Helping to Transport Proteins Inside the Cell
21.11.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
UNH researchers create a more effective hydrogel for healing wounds
21.11.2018 | University of New Hampshire
Innsbruck quantum physicists have constructed a diode for magnetic fields and then tested it in the laboratory. The device, developed by the research groups led by the theorist Oriol Romero-Isart and the experimental physicist Gerhard Kirchmair, could open up a number of new applications.
Electric diodes are essential electronic components that conduct electricity in one direction but prevent conduction in the opposite one. They are found at the...
Max Planck researchers revel the nano-structure of molecular trains and the reason for smooth transport in cellular antennas.
Moving around, sensing the extracellular environment, and signaling to other cells are important for a cell to function properly. Responsible for those tasks...
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...
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...
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...
19.11.2018 | Event News
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
21.11.2018 | Life Sciences
21.11.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
21.11.2018 | Life Sciences