Can TAMs Hold the Key to Stopping Cancer’s Advances?

Can TAMs Hold the Key to Stopping Cancer's Advances?

TAMs are important cells found in cancer tumors. TAMs or tumor associated macrophages cause inflammation and stop the body from fighting the cancer. When a person has a lot of these cells, it means their cancer is harder to treat.

A new study published in Frontiers in Immunology looked at whether using a drug to target TAMs can stop the spread of cancer.

Targeting TAMs to Halt Cancer Spread Revealed in Recent Study

The researchers in the study used a drug called alpha-ChemR23. This drug stops the TAMs from working, which might also stop the cancer tumors from spreading. They tested this drug in tumor samples taken from healthy people and from people with either breast cancer or mesothelioma in the lungs.

Mesothelioma in the lungs is also known as pleural mesothelioma. It develops in the lining of the lungs and is caused by inhaling tiny asbestos fibers. Signs and symptoms may include shortness of breath due to fluid around the lung, chest pain, cough, and fatigue.

It can take decades for pleural mesothelioma symptoms to begin. Doctors will usually diagnose someone with pleural mesothelioma with imaging scans like X-rays and with tissue biopsies.

Conventional treatment may include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy (cisplatin and Alimta). According to medical studies, the median survival with conventional treatment is little more than a year.

Once the researchers had their tissues samples, they applied the drug alpha-ChemR23 to see how it affected the cells. They found out that blocking the TAMS did, in fact, reduce the spread of cancer in the tumor tissue samples.

The researchers were hopeful that this study would show that this type of therapeutic anti-cancer treatment can improve patient outcomes. Blocking TAMs in cancer patients, including those with mesothelioma, can reduce the spread of cancer and improve their overall outlook.


Lavy M, Gauttier V, Dumont A, et al. ChemR23 activation reprograms macrophages toward a less inflammatory phenotype and dampens carcinoma progression. Front Immunol. 2023;14:1196731. Published 2023 Jul 19. doi:10.3389/fimmu.2023.1196731. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10396772/

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