Researchers Find Molecule that Can Stop Mesothelioma Cells from Tricking the Immune System

One of the most challenging aspects about cancers like malignant mesothelioma is the way that it continues to grow and spread. Researchers have found that cancer cells actually trick the immune system into ignoring them instead of attacking them, thus allowing it to metastasize and cause increasing damage. But researchers from Rush Medical College in Chicago, Illinois and the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California in San Diego have joined forces and designed a molecule to stop this process.

Researchers Find Protein At Root of Mesothelioma Metastases

Though their research did not specifically target mesothelioma, Vineet Gupta, Ph.D., a professor and vice chairperson for research and innovation in the Department of Internal Medicine and Judith Varner, Ph.D., of the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California in San Diego believe that their studies will lead to tremendous strides in stopping all types of cancerous tumor growths. Writing in the journal Nature Communications, they explain that myeloid cells that should attack cancer cells are tricked by cancer cells into thinking that they have been damaged, resulting in tumor cells enlisting them in their growth and division. Through their studies they determined that the protein called CD11b, which usually changes myeloid cells into M1 macrophages that stop tumor growth, is impacted by cancer cells, interfering with its activity and instead turning myeloid cells into M2 macrophages that increase tumor growth. They determined that with the use of a molecule called Leukadherin-1, they were able to strengthen the normal activity of CD11b, allowing it to continue in its original mission of reducing tumors. “The boost in CD11b activity in the mouse with the point mutation mimics the one imparted on CD11b in normal mice with administration of LA-1,” Prof. Gupta reports. “The results were the same.”

New Molecule May Help Stop Tumors’ Spread

In developing this new molecule, the scientists hope that they will be able to provide patients diagnosed with mesothelioma and other types of cancer with an important weapon in their struggle against the disease’s spread. If mesothelioma has affected you or somebody you love and you need information about the resources available to you, contact the Patient Advocates at today at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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