Myeloid-derived suppressor cells in cancer

Published on February 29, 2024   41 min

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My name is Dmitry Gabrilovich and for many years, I was an academic researcher, professor at different institutions working on myeloid cell biology. For the last three and a half years, I am the Executive Director and Chief Scientist at AstraZeneca, where I'm continuing working on basic and translational aspect of myeloid cell biology, specifically myeloid-derived suppressor cells. I will be discussing with you today the basic biology of myeloid cells in cancer, especially myeloid-derived suppressor cells, and really illustrate their biology with several examples of our recent studies.
Tumor microenvironment is full of myeloid cells. They represent one of the major part of this microenvironment. Myeloid cells in cancer are largely represented by tumor associated macrophages and neutrophils and monocytes, and specifically their pathological state of activation, myeloid-derived suppressor cells from which I will be discussing a little bit later. There's also dendritic cells present in tumors. The main message, what we learned in the last several decades is that practically all tumors are infiltrated with myeloid cells. There is no such thing as a cold tumor in respect of myeloid cells. They play a major role in the regulation of immune responses in cancer and promoting tumor progression through non-immunological means, meaning affecting angiogenesis, extracellular matrix, and many other things. As I said, myeloid cells represent very diverse group of cells with multiple different functionalities and they produce multiple different factors. From the long time, the question was: what defines the functions of these myeloid cells in cancer? That is myeloid cells really exist to regulate tumor because in evolution, these cells are one of our major protectors from pathogens. So why these things changed in cancer? That's what we try to figure out for the last 20 years and we come up with a clear and functional hypothesis which has been confirmed in many different studies, but still under debate, which I will discuss with you right now.