One of the engines that causes one of the most aggressive tumors, that of the pancreas, to grow has been discovered. The result, published in the journal Nature, is due to Italian research and has made it possible to identify a therapeutic target to slow down the progression of the disease. The research was led by the San Raffaele Institute of Milan, with the Telethon Institute of Gene Therapy and the Vita e Salute University. The Universities of Turin and Verona, the French Institute for Health and Medical Research (Inserm), the Biopolis research center in Singapore and the University of Shanghai also collaborated.
What favors the growth of this form of tumor which is unfortunately still very lethal, pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, is the special alliance between a particular type of immune cells, called IL-1beta+ macrophages, and some very aggressive tumor cells known to be linked to inflammation. “It’s a sort of self-sustaining vicious cycle. Macrophages make tumor cells more aggressive, and tumor cells reprogram macrophages that can promote inflammation and disease progression,” observes the research coordinator Renato Ostunihead of the Genomics of the Innate Immune System laboratory at the Sr-Tiget Institute and associate professor at the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University.
by Irma D’Aria
“We have made a good step forward in understanding the biological processes underlying the disease. However, we are at a state of preclinical research still far from application in patients. The next few years will be essential to identify the potential and the most appropriate ways to act on this new therapeutic target”, say the authors of the research, supported by the Airc Foundation for cancer research, the European Research Council and the Ministry of Health.
edited by the editorial staff of the Cavò institute newspaper of the Liceo Cavour in Rome