Fewer macrophages, less cancer growth

Astrid Schmieder explores the link between macrophages and therapeutic success

Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer worldwide. While patients with regional disease have a comparatively high survival rate, this rate drops sharply in the case of melanoma with metastases. Immunotherapy represents a new treatment approach. However, despite initial promising results, nearly half of the patients do not respond to the therapy with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI).

One reason for this could be tumor-associated macrophages. In malignant melanoma and other tumor types, the number of these macrophages correlates with a poor prognosis. Astrid Schmieder from the University Hospital Würzburg, in cooperation with Emmanuel Saliba from the Helmholtz Institute Würzburg and Clément Cochain from the University Hospital, wants to find out to what extent the population of these macrophages can be influenced by intervening in their signaling pathways. The results of the research project, based at the Single-Cell Center Würzburg, may provide clues as to how the success of the therapy can be improved.