Targeting Tumor Microenvironment: Harnessing the Power of Immune Cells in Cancer Therapy

Tumor microenvironment (TME) is a multifaceted milieu that includes extracellular matrix components, blood vessels, stromal cells, and immune cells. These entities engage in dynamic interactions with tumor cells. Tumor progression or regression is significantly influenced by immune cells found in the tumor microenvironment (TME), such as dendritic cells, macrophages, natural killer (NK) cells, and T cells. One of the main goals of cancer immunotherapy is to utilize these immune cells.

Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors:

One strategy involves immune checkpoint inhibitors, which target molecules such as programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1), programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1), and cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4 (CTLA-4). By blocking these inhibitory pathways, these inhibitors enhance the cytotoxic activity of T cells against cancer cells, leading to tumor regression.

Immune checkpoint Inhibitors

Adoptive Cell Therapy (ACT):

ACT involves the isolation and ex vivo expansion of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) or genetically modified T cells, followed by reinfusion into patients. Engineered T cells, such as chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells, can recognize and kill cancer cells more effectively, thereby improving anti-tumor responses.

Summary of concepts of adoptive T cell therapies (ACT) Three types of tumor Ag-specific T cells are used for ACT.

Cytokine Therapy:

Cytokines, such as interleukin-2 (IL-2) and interferons, can modulate the TME and stimulate immune responses against tumors. High-dose IL-2 has been used to activate T cells and NK cells, leading to tumor regression in some patients with melanoma and renal cell carcinoma.

Cytokines as therapeutic agents and targets in heart disease

Cancer Vaccines:

Cancer vaccines aim to stimulate the immune system to recognize and target tumor cells. These vaccines can be composed of tumor antigens, dendritic cells, or viral vectors encoding tumor antigens. They can induce specific anti-tumor immune responses and memory, leading to long-lasting protection against cancer recurrence.

Cytokines as therapeutic agents and targets in heart disease


To improve the effectiveness of cancer treatments and achieve sustained responses in individuals with different forms of cancer, it is essential to comprehend the dynamic interactions within the TME and develop tailored immunotherapies.


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