Paulo Rodriguez, PhD of Moffitt Cancer Center @MoffittNews discusses identifying molecular pathways that control immunosuppression in tumors.
An active immune system plays an important role in stopping the development of cancer by detecting and targeting the tumor cells for destruction. Some change in the immune system's normal activities can lead to accelerated growth of tumors. Researchers at the Moffitt Cancer Center decided to find out how myeloid cells, a form of immune cell, may contribute to cancer progression. The Moffitt team explains how protein-signaling pathways associated with cellular stress processes turn myeloid cells into tumor-promoting players, and indicates that targeting the PERK protein can be an efficient therapeutic strategy for reactivating the immune system and improving immunotherapy effectiveness.
Myeloid cells are involved in the immune system's anti-cancer function. However, myeloid cell pathways are altered in most patients with advanced malignancies, and can turn into myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), which inhibit protective anti-tumor immunity. Some MDSCs grow in cancer patients and switch on signaling pathways that deactivate other immune populations to effectively kill tumor cells.