While immune cells known as macrophages perform many beneficial behaviors in our body, cancer cells sometimes recruit them to help support tumors instead. It’s also known that certain bacteria, such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis, can infect, reside and replicate in macrophages. But eventually, for the bacteria to disseminate, they will kill the macrophages. It’s not entirely clear how this happens, but Dr. Li Zhang is working to decipher the mechanisms behind this signaling activity, with the aim of using it to get rid of the pro-cancer macrophages that accumulate in tumors and help drive tumor growth. Ultimately, thwarting the efforts of these cancer-supporting macrophages could make existing treatments more effective and potentially even lead to novel therapeutic approaches to target tumors.
Projects and Grants
Type I Interferon Control of Macrophage Cell Death
Weill Cornell Medicine | All Cancers | 2017 | Carl F. Nathan, Ph.D.
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