Breaking through a tumor's defenses
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IMAGE: View of cells within a mouse tumor with increasing magnification. TAMs show red fluorescence and anti-tumor T cells show magenta fluorescence. view more 

Credit: Image credit: Dr Fabien Garcon, Babraham Institute.

Key messages:

Researchers identify the dominant immune cells contributing to tumour tolerance by the immune system Silencing the tumour-shielding cells of the immune system allows T cell attack on tumours and restricts tumour growth Research findings suggest new targets for cancer immunotherapies

In research published today, Babraham Institute researchers have shown that some tumours use not one but two levels of protection against the immune system. Knocking out one level boosted the protective effects of the second and vice versa. The research demonstrates that a two-pronged approach targeting both cell types simultaneously may offer a promising route for the development of new cancer immunotherapies.

The development and growth of a cancerous tumour often occurs despite a fully functioning immune system, capable of recognising and killing cancer cells. Tumours hijack certain cells in our immune system to create a growth-permissive environment and give protection from the anti-tumour elements. In particular, tumours recruit immune cell allies, cells called tumour-associated macrophages (TAMs) and regulatory T cells (Treg), to evade immune

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