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2021-11-25| Special

Cancer Cells Build Nano-Highways to Hijack Mitochondria from Immune Cells

by Sahana Shankar
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Cancer cells escape identification and neutralization by the immune system by multiple strategies. One of them is ligand-mediated deactivation of immune checkpoints, which spurred the advent of cancer immunotherapy with anti-PD1.

However, not all patients respond well to immunotherapy, suggesting other immune evasion pathways in cancers. Researchers from MIT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital employed nanotechnology to unravel a novel mechanism of cancer cells to attack and suppress immune cells.

Co-culture of breast cancer cells with effector T cells and subsequent high-resolution imaging showed a physical linkage between cancer cells and nearby T cells with an average width of 100-1000nm. These nanotubes were composed of actin and other cytoskeletal proteins, suggesting that they may be involved in intercellular transport.

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