New mechanisms to fight against melanoma metastasis
The UdL participates in an international investigation published in "Cell"
The inhibition of a protein called myosin type 2 can help slow the metastasis of melanoma, the most dangerous skin cancer. This is revealed by an investigation in which the professors of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lleida (UdL) and researchers of the Oncology Pathology group of IRBLleida-UdL Xavier Matias-Guiu and Rosa M. Martí, recently published in the prestigious Cell magazine. These experts also work at the Arnau de Vilanova University Hospital, in the areas of Pathological Anatomy and Dermatology.
The study, led by Professor Victoria Sanz-Moreno of the Barts Cancer Institute at the University of London, reveals that aggressive melanoma cells are capable of manipulating the immune system for their benefit. As a result, a type of white blood cell called a macrophage, which would have to recognize and destroy cancer cells, ends up favoring the growth and spread of the tumor.
Under normal circumstances, macrophages help eliminate cancer cells and fight infectious agents. Aggressive melanoma releases specific signals that attract immune cells to the tumor, altering its environment and "re-educating" the immune cells to grow and spread. The team has discovered that the release of these "immune-modulatory" signals from cancer cells is controlled by myosin type 2, which plays an important role in the remodeling of the cell's shape (cytoskeleton), also intervening in migration mobile.
Funded by Cancer Research UK, researchers have been able to block the release of these signals that reprogrammed immune cells, preventing the progression of cancer. "By inhibiting myosin type 2 we have been able to reduce the growth and spread of melanoma," they say. In future research, they want to combine drugs that block both the migration and invasion of cancer cells with immunotherapies and targeted therapies. The team will also investigate the role of the cell's cytoskeleton in regulating immune responses in tumors.