Research institute, Karolinska Institutet in Sweden has generated antibodies that will aid the immune system. These antibodies will reprogram certain macrophage cells located in tumors allow for the immune system to recognize and kill tumor cells. This study shows potential for a new therapy that may aid in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer and malignant melanoma.
Immunotherapy is a cancer treatment different than chemotherapy as the immune system itself is enhanced in order to kill the tumor cells.
Research team member, Mikael Karlsson, explains that the antibodies activate macrophages within the tumor and studies show promising results in regards to three different cancers studied.
In 2013 the leading scientific journal Science described immunotherapy as a groundbreaking achievement. Antibodies increase and enhance the ability of T-cells to kill tumor cells. However certain tumor cells are still able to conceal themselves by emitting signals that prevent recognition.
The focus of this study centers on macrophages which normally target viruses. Researchers were able to reprogram and activate macrophages which showed a stop in growth and spread in mice. Antibodies were used to target a protein on the cell surface.
Research demonstrates that this type of macrophage is present in breast cancer cells and in malignant melanoma cells. There is hope that an antibody can be developed to reprogram the macrophages.
There is also an interest in the use of macrophages in human tumors for the diagnosis of cancer diseases.