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Exposing Tumours' Tricks

Protein called CCR2 on tumour cells helps them avoid detection by the immune system

08 September 2020

Exposing Tumours' Tricks

Tumours have an array of tactics for avoiding detection and destruction by the immune system. They can, for example, display proteins on the surfaces of their cells that tell immune cells not to destroy them. They can also release a soup of immunosuppressive molecules that dampen the activity of patrolling immune cells. And, as has been discovered recently, they can produce a protein called CCR2 that inhibits the infiltration and maturation of dendritic cells — a type of messenger cell that alerts other immune cells and rallies them into action. The tumour on the left (green) is expressing CCR2, while the one on the right is not and has far greater numbers of infiltrating immune cells (red) as a result. The good news is that by identifying these various immune-avoidance ploys researchers are better informed for finding novel ways to counteract them.

Written by Ruth Williams

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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