Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

To Spread, Skin Cancer Attacks Immune Dendritic Cells

Date:
June 1, 2009
Source:
Rockefeller University
Summary:
Dendritic cells are the sentinels of the immune system. When they're alert and on guard, they will marshal the body's immunosoldiers, T cells, to battle at the sight of harmful pathogens. But some diseases, such as cancer, are able to escape their watchful eye. By knocking out or beguiling dendritic cells, they slip the defenses of the immune system and sack the unsuspecting body.

Dendritic cells are the sentinels of the immune system. When they’re alert and on guard, they will marshal the body’s immunosoldiers, T cells, to battle at the sight of harmful pathogens. But some diseases, such as cancer, are able to escape their watchful eye. By knocking out or beguiling dendritic cells, they slip the defenses of the immune system and sack the unsuspecting body.

New research shows that one of the most common types of skin cancer has learned such a trick, finding a way to disable apparently healthy dendritic cells, which then allow cancer cell nests to spread around them without calling T cells to the fight.

The work was led by Michelle Lowes, an assistant professor of clinical investigation in the Laboratory for Investigative Dermatology at Rockefeller University, and John Carucci, associate professor of dermatology and director of Mohs Micrographic and Dermatologic Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College. Their research shows that dendritic cells taken from squamous cell carcinomas have most of the known genetic and physiologic hallmarks of their able-bodied fellows in healthy skin tissue. But they do not behave the same at all, says Carucci, a former postdoc in the lab of Rockefeller professor Ralph M. Steinman, who discovered dendritic cells in 1973. “They are impotent,” he says. “They just can’t be turned on.”

Curucci is an expert in surgical treatment of aggressive carcinomas and an immunologist who focuses on tumor biology. Lowes, whose usual focus is psoriasis, an inflammatory skin disorder in which dendritic cells are implicated, helped Carucci and colleagues adapt her methods for the detailed study of dendritic cells in squamous cell carcinoma. It is the second most common type of skin cancer, afflicting about 250,000 people in the United States in 2007. The work, funded by a Dana Foundation grant supporting collaborative immunological research likely to lead to clinical treatments, involved genetic and biochemical testing of dendritic cell samples from carcinoma nests, bordering tissue and healthy skin.

Under normal circumstances, mature dendritic cells present pathogens to T cells, stimulating the production of an army of T cells specialized to neutralize the threat. Certain kinds of immunoregulatory proteins called cytokines are known to normally increase dendrtic cells’ ability to muster that army. But Lowes and Carucci found that dendritic cells from the squamous cell carcinomas, although appearing mature and ready, could not be boosted with a cytokine cocktail to do much of anything at all. Similar-looking dendritic cells from healthy skin responded positively to the booster, and dendritic cells from skin bordering the cancer nests fell somewhere in between. The researchers do not yet know why; they’re investigating that now. “First we need to find out what switched the dendritic cells off, then we’ll look at how to turn them on,” Lowes says. “If you can stimulate the right T cell response, you could mount a robust antitumor response,” says Carucci. “If we can do that, we might actually be able to treat so-called inoperable cancers. This could truly have some clinical applications.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rockefeller University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Bluth et al. Myeloid Dendritic Cells from Human Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma Are Poor Stimulators of T-Cell Proliferation. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 2009; DOI: 10.1038/jid.2009.96

Cite This Page:

Rockefeller University. "To Spread, Skin Cancer Attacks Immune Dendritic Cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090530173546.htm>.
Rockefeller University. (2009, June 1). To Spread, Skin Cancer Attacks Immune Dendritic Cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090530173546.htm
Rockefeller University. "To Spread, Skin Cancer Attacks Immune Dendritic Cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090530173546.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins