In addition to protecting us against infectious invaders, immune cells known as macrophages also help the body get rid of our own damaged or diseased cells. When a macrophage eats bacteria, it sounds the alarm so that other immune cells can attack any remaining bacteria, but when it clears away our own damaged cells, it doesn’t necessarily stimulate this same response. This can be a problem if a macrophage ingests a cancer cell because it could allow tumors to escape elimination. To address that, Dr. Kathleen Pestal aims to figure out how the balance between these different behaviors is achieved. Then, this knowledge could be exploited through the development of therapies that allow us to more effectively unleash macrophages against tumors and enable more effective overall immune responses against cancer.
Projects and Grants
The regulation of apoptotic cell-clearance identity in tissue-resident macrophages
University of California, Berkeley | All Cancers | 2017 | Gregory M. Barton, Ph.D.
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