Cancer Immunotherapy

Dr. Shuhia Chen
University of Houston
Macrophages and dendritic cells are classically activated to clear pathogens and
promote immunity, but these same cells can also be reprogrammed within the tumor
microenvironment to become tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) and tolerogenic
dendritic cells, where they suppress anti-tumor immunity and promote tumor growth
and metastasis. Studies investigating the biological mechanisms behind anti-tumor
“M1-like” classical maturation versus tumor-promoting “M2-like” alternative
activation possess significant therapeutic potential. Cell surface molecules have been
identified to modulate the myeloid and TAM differentiation. We hypothesize that
modulation of myeloid cells differentiation may control tumor progression and
metastases or suppress the unnecessary over react autoimmune responses. Our studies
may lead to the discovery of novel means by which TAMs/MDSC/DC can be targeted
to combat the immune suppression associated with advanced malignancies. Ablation
of immune suppression and preventing tumor invasion should significantly augment
the efficacy of immune-based therapies for the treatment of advanced metastatic