Immune cells called macrophages play diverse roles in cancer: while some types can keep cancer in check, others can help it spread and survive. Treatments that target macrophages can help reduce tumor growth, but because they target all macrophages indiscriminately, these approaches can cause systemic toxicity and increase infection risk. Dr. Deng’s goal is to characterize these different subsets of macrophages as well as their origins (some normally reside in tissues while others migrate from the bone marrow) and try to link them to specific pro-cancer or anti-cancer functions. With knowledge about which macrophages are responsible for which behaviors, improved approaches could potentially be developed to target only the “bad” populations, which could help patients by enhancing the anti-cancer activity of their immune systems while minimizing harmful side effects.
Projects and Grants
Roles of macrophage subsets in tumorigenesis
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center | Liver Cancer | 2017 | Frederic Geissmann, M.D., Ph.D.
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