Researchers use biological Trojan horse to attack cancer support cells, celebrate findings with wicked awesome toga party

From PhysOrg:

When the investigators treated mice that developed pancreatic cancer with gemcitabine in combination with CD40 antibodies, the results looked like those of the human trial. Some mouse tumors shrank and were found to be loaded with macrophages but contained few or no T cells. Closer inspection showed that the macrophages were attacking what is known as the tumor stroma, the supporting tissue around the tumor. Pancreatic tumors secrete chemical signals that draw macrophages to the tumor site, but if left to their own devices, these macrophages would protect the tumor. However, treating the mice (or patients) with CD40 antibodies seemed to flip that system on its head. “It is something of a Trojan horse approach,” Vonderheide says. “The tumor is still calling in macrophages, but now we’ve used the CD40 receptor to re-educate those macrophages to attack – not promote – the tumor.”

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