Macrophages—which literally means “big eaters”—are the frontline soldiers of the immune system. Their role is to confront pathogens and alert other immune cells to any danger. To fulfill their diverse duties, macrophages can adopt one of two main “modes” referred to as M1 (which is pro-inflammatory) and M2 (which is anti-inflammatory). Many factors can influence which form macrophages take, including metabolic considerations; however the mechanisms behind this impact remains unclear.
To that end, Dr. Stanley Huang is investigating the role that an important metabolic network—involving the nonessential amino acid serine—plays in the function of M2 tumor-associated macrophages, and whether it can be harnessed to help the immune system against cancer. By investigating this and the different ‘forces’ that shape macrophage immunity, Huang hopes to understand how macrophages decide their identity. Ultimately, the insights from his work could improve our ability to manipulate macrophages in order to improve existing treatments as well as develop more effective cancer immunotherapies.
Projects and Grants
Targeting macrophage nonessential amino acid metabolism for improvement of cancer immunotherapy
Case Western Reserve University | All Cancers | 2020
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