Discovery of a new form of immunotherapy for the treatment of cancer

2020

Challenge

In most solid tumors, the natural immune response is co-opted by the cancer to contribute to tumor growth rather than preventing it. Advancements in therapies that mobilize the immune system against cancer, known as immunotherapies, have profoundly changed the approach to treating cancer. However, most cancers do not respond to current immunotherapies, and some FDA-approved immunotherapies are highly personalized, making them labor-intensive and expensive.

Advance

Research by investigators at the National Institute of Cancer (NCI), the National Center for Advancing Translational Science (NCATS), and Tuskegee University precisely described the mechanism of action of a novel molecule that helps regulate the immune system called the mannose receptor CD206 tumor-associated macrophage (CD206-TAM). The study found that targeting this protein can change the tumor’s environment in a way that triggers a robust immune response and facilitates healing.

Impact

The mechanism discovered by the researchers has broad applicability against numerous tumor types, including those that do not respond to current immunotherapy treatments. The team continues to work on the project with the aim of advancing this new form of immunotherapy toward human clinical trials as quickly as possible.

Publications

Jaynes JM, Sable R, Ronzetti M, Bautista W, Knotts Z, Abisoye-Ogunniyan A, Li D, Calvo R, Dashnyam M, Singh A, Guerin T, White J, Ravichandran S, Kumar P, Talsania K, Chen V, Ghebremedhin A, Karanam B, Bin Salam A, Amin R, Odzorig T, Aiken T, Nguyen V, Bian Y, Zarif JC, de Groot AE, Mehta M, Fan L, Hu X, Simeonov A, Pate N, Abu-Asab M, Ferrer M, Southall N, Ock CY, Zhao Y, Lopez H, Kozlov S, de Val N, Yates CC, Baljinnyam B, Marugan J, Rudloff U. (2020). Mannose receptor (CD206) activation in tumor-associated macrophages enhances adaptive and innate antitumor immune responses. Sci Transl Med. Feb 12;12(530).