Cancer cells use ‘tiny tentacles’ to suppress the immune system


Left: Field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM) picture exhibits the formation of a nanotube between a breast most cancers cell and an immune cell. Right: Confocal microscopy picture exhibits mitochondria (labeled with inexperienced fluorescence dye) touring from a T cell to a most cancers cell by way of the intercellular nanotube. DNA within the mitochondria was labeled with blue dye. Credit: Nature Nanotechnology, 10.1038/s41565-021-01000-4

To develop and unfold, most cancers cells should evade the immune system. Investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and MIT used the ability of nanotechnology to find a brand new means that most cancers can disarm its would-be mobile attackers by extending out nanoscale tentacles that may attain into an immune cell and pull out its powerpack. Slurping out the immune cell’s mitochondria powers up the most cancers cell and depletes the immune cell. The new findings, printed in Nature Nanotechnology, might result in new targets for growing the following technology of immunotherapy in opposition to most cancers.

“Cancer kills when the immune system is suppressed and cancer cells are able to metastasize, and it appears that nanotubes can help them do both,” mentioned corresponding writer Shiladitya Sengupta, Ph.D., co-director of the Brigham’s Center for Engineered Therapeutics. “This is a totally new mechanism by which most cancers cells evade the immune system and it provides us a brand new goal to go after.”

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To examine how most cancers cells and immune cells work together on the nanoscale degree, Sengupta and colleagues arrange experiments during which they co-cultured breast most cancers cells and immune cells, reminiscent of T cells. Using field-emission scanning electron microscopy, they caught a glimpse of one thing uncommon: Cancer cells and immune cells seemed to be bodily related by tiny tendrils, with widths principally within the 100-1000 nanometer vary. (For comparability, a human hair is roughly 80,000 to 100,000 nanometers). In some circumstances, the nanotubes got here collectively to kind thicker tubes. The crew then stained mitochondria—which give vitality for cells—from the T cells with a fluorescent dye and watched as vivid inexperienced mitochondria had been pulled out of the immune cells, by way of the nanotubes, and into the most cancers cells.

“By carefully preserving the cell culture condition and observing intracellular structures, we saw these delicate nanotubes and they were stealing the immune cells‘ energy source,” mentioned co-corresponding writer Hae Lin Jang, Ph.D., a principal investigator within the Center for Engineered Therapeutics. “It was very exciting because this kind of behavior had never been observed before in cancer cells. This was a tough project as the nanotubes are fragile and we had to handle the cells very gently to not break them.”

The researchers then regarded to see what would occur in the event that they prevented the cancer cells from hijacking mitochondria. When they injected an inhibitor of nanotube formation into mouse fashions used for learning lung most cancers and breast most cancers, they noticed a big discount in tumor growth.

“One of the goals in cancer immunotherapy is to find combinations of therapies that can improve outcomes,” mentioned lead writer Tanmoy Saha, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher within the Center for Engineered Therapeutics. “Based on our observations, there is evidence that an inhibitor of nanotube formation could be combined with cancer immunotherapies and tested to see if it can improve outcomes for patients.”

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More info:
Hae Jang, Intercellular nanotubes mediate mitochondrial trafficking between most cancers and immune cells, Nature Nanotechnology (2021). DOI: 10.1038/s41565-021-01000-4.

Cancer cells use ‘tiny tentacles’ to suppress the immune system (2021, November 18)
retrieved 18 November 2021

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