RimAb. A novel macrophage checkpoint inhibitor for cancer immunotherapy
Fundació Institut d’Investigació en Ciències de la Salut Germans Trias i Pujol (IGTP) Barcelona, Spain
Macrophages are immune cells that work to protect the host from infection or other insults, such as cancer development. However, in cancer, tumor cells engage in a cross-talk with neighbouring macrophages (named tumor associated macrophages, TAM), thereby inducing them to establish an immunosuppressed microenvironment, to promote angiogenesis, tumor growth and metastasis, and to modulate chemotherapy. Therefore, blocking or modifying TAM activity constitutes a potential novel cancer immunotherapy approach.
Maris-Rosa Sarrias and team have identified a therapeutic target in TAMs with great potential for many solid tumors. They then developed a new monoclonal antibody directed at this target, which modifies macrophage responses and has shown antitumor effects in a mouse model of cancer. Their clinical observations in liver cancer further suggest that high expression of the target protein correlates with worse clinical outcome, suggesting the potential of this technology as companion diagnostic.