Nutrient Deprived Tumors Attract Immunosuppressive Cells

April 24, 2020 | Biotechnology

Reading time: 3 minutes

Fresh from Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News (GEN), here is a notable Bio Technology article for you:

A team of investigators, lead by scientists at the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) in Barcelona, has just released new findings from a study on how tumor cells respond to a lack of nutrients. Knowing that some solid tumors have a very high growth rate, which often leads to a lack of vascularization due to the impossibility to develop the blood vessels that accompany and nourish it, the research team observed that cells respond by releasing cytokines and chemokines, molecules that attract the first defenses of the immune system, which ultimately inhibit a more specific and effective attack.

Findings from the new study—published recently in PNAS through an article entitled “Starvation and antimetabolic therapy promote cytokine release and recruitment of immune cells”— also show that the released cytokines will promote the formation of new blood vessels that nourish the tumor again.

“Poorly irrigated tumors exhaust nutrients from their environment,” the authors noted. “On the other hand, innate immune cells, such as neutrophils and macrophages, have been frequently shown to infiltrate tumors and promote an immunosuppressive environment.”

Reduced nutrient levels in the less vascularized parts of the tumor are known to trigger stress responses. As senior study investigator and senior scientist at IDIBELL Cristina Muñoz-Pinedo, PhD, points out, “the stress response due to lack of nutrients, known as an integrated stress response, induces the cell production of alarm proteins. And those proteins are closely related to cancer progression”. This article demonstrates that this response participates in the secretion of inflammatory cytokines in many types of tumor cells in culture, from lung cancer cells to cervical cancer or rhabdomyosarcoma.

Previous studies of other groups point out that the inflammation that takes place in tumors could prevent an... You can find the complete article in the GEN Blog.

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