The observation that many tumors exist in a microenvironment comprised of immune cells has led to the hypothesis that the immune system may play a significant role in the suppression of tumor growth. It is now clear that immune effector cells are capable of recognizing and destroying some cancer cells. However, tumors have developed numerous mechanisms by which they avoid immune recognition and death. Cancer immunotherapy attempts to harness the power of the immune system and direct it against tumor growth, while circumventing the immune-evasion strategies utilized by tumors. Many approaches are currently being investigated, including the re-infusion of autologous immune effector cells (i.e. cytotoxic T lymphocytes and macrophages) back into hosts after ex vivo expansion and activation. The therapeutic effects of specific cytokines are also being evaluated for their impact on tumor growth. Our lab has discovered a novel thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1) binding protein, termed “angiocidin”, with potent anti-tumor and anti-angiogenic capabilities. To further investigate the anti-tumor activity of angiocidin, we examined whether angiocidin could play a role in immune system modulation. We have found that the monocytic leukemia cell line THP-1, as well as freshly isolated human peripheral blood monocytes, differentiate into macrophage-like cells when treated with angiocidin. These cells underwent dramatic morphological changes and became more phagocytic. Angiocidin-treated monocytes also activated T lymphocytes in co-culture conditions. Angiocidin-treated THP-1 cells upregulated cytokine mRNA expression and secretion via NF-κB, MAPK, and PI3-K. Based on these data, we hypothesize that angiocidins ability to elicit tumor cell death may be mediated in part by its pro-inflammatory effects on immune cells in the tumor microenvironment.
Keywords: Angiocidin, macrophages, cancer, immunotherapy, angiogenesis, cytokine, adjuvant
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