Cancer Researchers Get a Grip on Immune Cell Plasticity

Certain of the body's immune cells, like macrophages, are particularly good at finding and destroying cancerous cells. But they also have the potential to switch gears and instead promote tumor cell growth. In an interview with Nature Methods, Taconic Biosciences' Dr. Paul Volden discusses the role of humanized immune system mouse models in exploring immune cell plasticity. Dr. Volden also reviews how Taconic's huNOG-EXL mouse is helping investigators better understand how tumor-associated macrophages attack tumors and test drug candidates that work on these and other myeloid lineage cells:

Advanced humanized mice are ways to model dynamic events in the immune system and plasticity of macrophages. But no model recapitulates all human immunity, says Paul Volden, a cancer biologist at Taconic Biosciences who helps labs find models for their experimental questions. The more humanized a mouse, the more complexity there is.

At a 2018 cancer conference, Volden saw a poster by a team of scientists at Tesaro, a biotech that GlaxoSmithKline acquired in 2019... The Tesaro work was, to his knowledge, the first dataset in which humanized TAMs infiltrated a tumor in the new mouse Taconic had developed.
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