Macrophages are immune cells that can eat cells that are not supposed to be in the body, like intruders or cancer cells. Image: Penn Medicine
One defense of cancer cells taken down - health short science news

Scientists have found that macrophages, some of the most important cancer-fighting cells of the immune system need to be primed before they attack and eat cancer cells.

Priming can be done by CpG to activate a so-called toll-like receptor. This changes the metabolism of macrophages, which now start to use glutamine and glucose as their primary energy sources for combatting the cancer. Macrophages will then eat the cancer cells, thus shrinking the tumor, even in the presence of high levels of CD47. CD47 is expressed by cancer cells to reduce macrophage activity, so that they do not get eaten.

Thus, cancer cells lose the use of CD47 for their defense against the immune system when facing pre-activated macrophages with altered metabolism.

Read the full story: University of Pennsylvania
Scientific publication: Nature Immunology

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