'Like a bulletproof vest': Cancer cells make their own kind of collagen. Can piercing through make treatments better?
Scientists have long poked at tumor collagen. In some cases, collagen helped keep a tumor at bay. In others, it protected a tumor from T cells. One 2013 paper even described collagen as a “double-edged sword” when it came to cancer.
In a study published in Cancer Cell today, Raghu Kalluri of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and colleagues illustrate how pancreatic cancer cells make their own unique type of collagen — one that not only protects them from the immune system, but also changes the very microbiome of the tumor itself. By drugging this unique cancer collagen, scientists hope to improve the effectiveness of cancer therapies such as checkpoint inhibitors, which is especially important for pancreatic cancers, where checkpoint inhibitors have had middling results.
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