Researchers from the University Medical center Mainz have discovered a new signaling pathway used by cancer cells to avoid attacks by the immune system.
Scientists have found that the tumor growth slows down when a protein called ICER is missing.
In the article “nature Immunology” researchers reported a previously unknown mechanism of immune deficiency, used a type of skin cancer known as melanoma. Scientists were able to show that the metabolic turnover of melanoma is especially high, which leads to abnormal acidification of the tumor environment. Due to this acidic environment, some of the immune cells called macrophages that have migrated into the tumor, develop into M2 macrophages ,which are specific anti-inflammatory subtype of macrophage. Thanks to a more detailed analysis of the mechanism the researchers found that a protein, known as the ICER, is essentially involved in the conversion of macrophages into the M2 subtype.
“The mechanism defined in our work gives new insight on how the immune system can be difficult when it comes to fighting cancer, which gives us the potential to develop innovative approaches to treatment,” concluded Professor Hansjorg Schild, who participated in the study.