Scientists led by Miriam Merad, MD, PhD, have shown for the first time that specific populations of macrophages promote tumor growth and contribute to immune evasion in early lung cancer lesions.
For the first time, Miriam Merad, MD, PhD, Director of the Precision Immunology Institute, and her research team at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have shown that specific populations of macrophages promote tumor growth and contribute to immune evasion in early lung cancer lesions. Their findings, which appeared in the June 21, 2021, issue of Nature, used a novel genetic approach to trace the lineage of macrophages in non-small cell lung carcinoma.
Macrophages—specialized immune cells involved in homeostasis and tissue repair—exist in every organ of the body. They also have a key role in shaping the tumor microenvironment (the cells, molecules, and tissues surrounding the tumor), tumor immunity, and the patient’s response to immunotherapy, making them an important target for cancer treatment. However, the ability to develop strategies to modulate macrophages has been hampered by an incomplete understanding of their molecular and functional diversity in the tumor setting.