Macrophages are immune cells with the ability to “eat” invasive cells such as bacteria or cancer cells and stimulate a subsequent immune response against this threat. This clearance process is crucial to maintaining the health of our tissues, and especially in the case of cancer, is important for disrupting the environment that enables tumors to grow. However, not much is known about the mechanisms that link this ingestion and digestion process with the potential immune response that follows. Therefore, Dr. Justin Perry aims to pick apart this fundamentally important, yet unexplored scientific avenue. He recently identified several molecules that influence how macrophages maintain their size after engulfing other cells and found that manipulating some of the relevant genes enhanced macrophage uptake of lymphoma cells. Consequently, Dr. Perry is investigating this approach as a means to enhance immune responses against cancer and ultimately improve the effectiveness of immunotherapy for cancer patients.
Projects and Grants
Regulation of phagocyte physiology during tumor cell clearance
University of Virginia Health System | All Cancers | 2018 | Kodimangalam S. Ravichandran, Ph.D.
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