A collaborative effort between the University of New Mexico Cancer Center, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy and the Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel-Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, have discovered certain immune cells that encourage blood vessel growth in tumors can become a target for anti-cancer drugs.
According to Wadih Arap, MD, PhD, and Renata Pasqualini, PhD, now at the University of New Mexico Cancer Center, are the leaders of the team of scientists that recently discovered a new type of immune cell called “CD13+ myeloid cells,” the CD13+ myeloids cells collect around tumors and release an enzyme known as CD13. CD13 initiates a process called angiogenesis which grows new blood vessels in the tumor. The researchers have discovered the cell that makes CD13.
Arap is the Deputy Director at the UNM Cancer Center and a UNM Professor and Division Chief of Hematology/Oncology, in the Department of Internal Medicine at the UNM School of Medicine. Arap’s wife, Dr. Pasqualini, is also a UNM Professor and is the Chief of the Division of Molecular Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine. Arap and Pasqualini have expertise in vascular biology and drug development.
Discovery of CD13+ myeloid cells and their role in angiogenesis may make them a target to disrupt the blood supply to a tumor. No blood supply, no oxygen, no nutrients and the tumor dies. Pasqualini notes, “the far-reaching biological principle emphasized in this study is that the several types of cells in a given normal or pathological organ are highly interactive. They receive and deliver molecular signals with their neighbors, such that each of them appears to be unable to sustain its usual functions in isolation.”
Angelo Corti, one of the co-authors on the current work, suggests, “These findings could have relevance also for bone metastasis or other cancers featuring angiogenesis (such as multiple myeloma, a blood cell cancer in which there is prominent angiogenesis in the bone marrow itself). CD13+ bone marrow-derived cells residing in the marrow might contribute strongly to angiogenesis in this context.”
Photo from http://www.eurocytology.eu