Nav: Home

How breast cancer cells sneak past local immune defenses

July 15, 2020

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) Associate Professor Mikala Egeblad and her colleagues describe a newly understood way by which breast cancer cells sabotage a key player in the body's immune system. That key player provides local immune surveillance by activating killer T-cells, but if it cannot mature and do its job, breast cancer cells can escape detection from the immune system, resulting in unnoticed and unhindered growth.

The key players in question are known as cross-presenting dendritic cells. These cells are important because they initiate and coordinate local immune responses by showing pieces of cancer cells to so-called killer T-cells. The killer T-cells can then detect and destroy the cancer cells.

The scientists found breast cancer cells use a protein on their surface, a so-called cell surface receptor called CCR2, in an unexpected way. It disrupts cross-presenting dendritic cell maturation. This was a surprise because CCR2 has a totally different function in immune cells, which use the receptor to guide themselves to areas of inflammation. However, when CCR2 receptors appear on the surface of tumor cells, they suppress the secretion of a signal that dendritic cells need to mature. The researchers are keen to learn more precisely how cancer cells use CCR2 to suppress those key proteins, but this new research finding is already helpful because CCR2 itself can be targeted. In 2012, the Egeblad lab revealed how blocking CCR2 on immune cells can improve the ability of drugs to penetrate tumors. Now, CCR2-blocking drugs are being tested in the clinic as a cancer treatment. These latest findings suggest that blocking CCR2 activity can also help the body's own immune response to fight cancer. Postdoctoral researcher Miriam Fein adds:

"This delves into something that no one was really considering when blocking CCR2. It opens up new ideas to build even better therapies or use existing drugs in different ways."
-end-


Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Related Immune System Articles:

COVID-19: Immune system derails
Contrary to what has been generally assumed so far, a severe course of COVID-19 does not solely result in a strong immune reaction - rather, the immune response is caught in a continuous loop of activation and inhibition.
Immune cell steroids help tumours suppress the immune system, offering new drug targets
Tumours found to evade the immune system by telling immune cells to produce immunosuppressive steroids.
Immune system -- Knocked off balance
Instead of protecting us, the immune system can sometimes go awry, as in the case of autoimmune diseases and allergies.
Too much salt weakens the immune system
A high-salt diet is not only bad for one's blood pressure, but also for the immune system.
Parkinson's and the immune system
Mutations in the Parkin gene are a common cause of hereditary forms of Parkinson's disease.
How an immune system regulator shifts the balance of immune cells
Researchers have provided new insight on the role of cyclic AMP (cAMP) in regulating the immune response.
Immune system upgrade
Theoretically, our immune system could detect and kill cancer cells.
Using the immune system as a defence against cancer
Research published today in the British Journal of Cancer has found that a naturally occurring molecule and a component of the immune system that can successfully target and kill cancer cells, can also encourage immunity against cancer resurgence.
First impressions go a long way in the immune system
An algorithm that predicts the immune response to a pathogen could lead to early diagnosis for such diseases as tuberculosis
Filming how our immune system kill bacteria
To kill bacteria in the blood, our immune system relies on nanomachines that can open deadly holes in their targets.
More Immune System News and Immune System Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Debbie Millman: Designing Our Lives
From prehistoric cave art to today's social media feeds, to design is to be human. This hour, designer Debbie Millman guides us through a world made and remade–and helps us design our own paths.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#574 State of the Heart
This week we focus on heart disease, heart failure, what blood pressure is and why it's bad when it's high. Host Rachelle Saunders talks with physician, clinical researcher, and writer Haider Warraich about his book "State of the Heart: Exploring the History, Science, and Future of Cardiac Disease" and the ails of our hearts.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Insomnia Line
Coronasomnia is a not-so-surprising side-effect of the global pandemic. More and more of us are having trouble falling asleep. We wanted to find a way to get inside that nighttime world, to see why people are awake and what they are thinking about. So what'd Radiolab decide to do?  Open up the phone lines and talk to you. We created an insomnia hotline and on this week's experimental episode, we stayed up all night, taking hundreds of calls, spilling secrets, and at long last, watching the sunrise peek through.   This episode was produced by Lulu Miller with Rachael Cusick, Tracie Hunte, Tobin Low, Sarah Qari, Molly Webster, Pat Walters, Shima Oliaee, and Jonny Moens. Want more Radiolab in your life? Sign up for our newsletter! We share our latest favorites: articles, tv shows, funny Youtube videos, chocolate chip cookie recipes, and more. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.