Identifying the Molecular Filter Responsible for Phagocytosis and Phagocytosis + Inflammation
Previous immunotherapies used to target cancer have focused on T-cells, however, in the Morrissey lab we are taking advantage of macrophage's skilled ability of engulfing and eliminating foreign pathogens, including cancer cells through phagocytosis. They preceisly survey their environment adding and subtracting “Eat me” and “Don’t eat me” signals. Phagocytosis has seen to be triggered by the activation of the Fc Receptor by the "Eat me" signal IgG. The macrophage measures these signals from its environment and proceeds to either engulf the particle or ignore it. Previous research shows that at high levels of IgG a phagocytic event and inflammatory response is engaged and at low levels just phagocytosis happens. If we can find a protein that is recruited to the phagocytic cup at high levels and not at low levels of IgG, it could be the molecular fork in the road between these two responses. Once the filter has been identified, the mechanism can begin to be studied in order to eventually be able to precisely control when inflammation is triggered to increase the cancer killing efficacy of the immune system.