Researchers at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center report success in preclinical experiments in targeting cells that suppress immune response by depleting them with peptides. The cells, called myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) have been shown to accelerate cancer progression and metastasis in mice. The newly discovered peptide targeting appears to shrink tumors with few side effects.
The role of MDSCs in blocking immune response has been understood for some time, but the means to effectively suppress them has not. The Anderson team’s research, published online in Nature Medicine, is the first to identify molecules on these cells to which a peptide antibody can be bound to eliminate them. Together with new advances that enhance the T cell immune response, the targeting of MDSCs could provide an additional way to unleash the immune system. Read a news story about the findings here.