Scientists are finding out how a tumor "deceives" immunity

Scientists at the Laboratory for Translational Cell and Molecular Biomedicine, established jointly with Tomsk National Research Medical Center under the leadership Julia Kzhyshkowska, Professor at Heidelberg University, are investigating the interaction of malignant tumors with the human immune system. This is necessary to create a new approach to cancer treatment, the essence of which is directed programming of the patient's immune system to suppress the tumor.

In a clinical situation, when a patient already has a tumor, the immune system does not recognize it as a target for destruction, since mutant cells are part of the body, unlike viruses and bacteria. Moreover, the tumor is able to program the immune system, and then the immunity helps it grow and gain metastases.

- Monocytes and macrophages, cells of innate immunity, can play a big role in this - says Nadezhda Cherdyntseva, a leading researcher at Laboratory for Translational Cell and Molecular Biomedicine, head of the Laboratory of Molecular Oncology and Immunology at the Tomsk Scientific Research Institute of Oncology at National Research Medical Center. - Monocytes travel out of the blood and, after entering tissues, ripen into macrophages that have the broadest spectrum of regulatory activity.

At the same time, they can be reconstructed from one activity to another - to help the growth of a tumor or to destroy malignant cells. The activity of monocytes and macrophages can be changed in a directional way, and that's why the attention of scientists is focused on them.

The functional properties of all cells are determined by their genetic apparatus. Specialists at the laboratory will investigate which genes are activated under certain conditions.

Genes encode the production of cytokines--specific proteins through which cells interact with each other. Knowing the mechanisms of regulation (activation or deactivation of the gene), it is possible to purposely turn on the gene that will trigger the desired cytokine and cause the correct immune response to the tumor. Developments in this direction are being carried out by scientists in various countries.