Cancer's shield seen, stripped

Researchers find - and reverse - tumors' ability to hide from the immune system

Megan Scudellari
Nov 3, 2010
Researchers have identified how cancer escapes detection by the immune system -- support cells surrounding a tumor protect it from triggering an immune reaction. The research, published this week in linkurl:Science,;http://www.sciencemag.org/ may ultimately provide a new therapeutic target to activate the body's natural defenses against malignant cells. "The beauty of this article is that it clearly connects certain stromal cells of the tumor microenvironment to the immune system," said linkurl:Hans Schreiber,;http://biomed.uchicago.edu/common/faculty/schreiber.html an immunologist at the University of Chicago who was not involved in the study. "It was very well done."
Macrophages of the immune system
attacking a cancer cell
linkurl:Susan Arnold;http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Macs_killing_cancer_cell.jpg
Researchers have long wondered how cancer evades attacks by the immune system, trained to recognize and destroy all foreign material. In the past, even when an immune response is mounted in an animal with cancer, the tumor itself remains relatively unscathed, since neighboring immune cells fail to...
Science.Kraman, M. et al., "Suppression of Antitumor Immunity by Stromal Cells Expressing Fibroblast Activation Protein-alpha," Science, 330:827-30, 2010.