Tuesday, April 2, 2019

CD47: The "Don't Eat Me" Signal

Macrophages are nifty cells that literally eat (ok, engulf and then digest) cells that are not recognized as good cells by our immune system. They are the clean-up team and their importance can't be minimized.

So why do cancer cells evade macrophages? That's what researchers are working on finding the answers to. But one group, out of Stanford, have discovered one escape mechanism that cancer cells use to evade macrophages.

Called CD47, this protein coats cancer cells and sends out a "don't eat me" signal. It is very commonly expressed in the body (after all, we don't want macrophages to eat good cells). How cancer cells hijack CD47 to protect itself is a mystery but researchers have found a way to block CD47 on cancer cells in a phase 1 study. Altho phase 1 studies are designed to determine the overall safety of a drug as well as optimal dosing, several women with ovarian or fallopian malignancies had partial remissions of their disease. This has prompted phase 2 trials to begin for ovarian cancer.

To read more about this research, follow this link.

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