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Researchers develop new cancer treatment

March 12, 2016

"It's well-known that macrophages entering the tumor microenvironment lose the ability to aid the immune system in rejecting the tumor, and that they may actually play a role in actively suppressing anti-tumor immunity," said Zanetti. "We believe that transmissible ER stress could be an important initial tumor-derived signal that promotes the 'brainwashing' of macrophages in the tumor microenvironment. It could be the first event in a cascade that results in the commandeering of macrophages by the tumor."

If so, transmissible ER stress may represent a unifying mechanism that explains at least some of the earliest interactions between tumors and the immune system. "Our paper details the first evidence of this phenomenon," Zanetti said, adding that transmissible ER stress also presents a new, potential target for tumor-specific therapies and drugs.

"Our findings suggest that development of therapies targeted against the tumor ER stress response may be doubly effective," said Zanetti. "Such therapies would target not only the tumor's intrinsic ability to cope with microenvironmental insults, but, at the same time, would impede the tumor cells' ability to nullify the anti-tumor immune response, perhaps allowing our bodies to more easily fight off tumors."

SOURCE University of California