ACKR2: a new target to promote the antitumor activity of the immune system

The study has been recently published on Nature Communications and is co-authored by Prof. Raffaella Bonecchi.

According to the study, receptor ACKR2 (atypical chemokine receptor 2) acts as a checkpoint controlling the anti-metastatic activity of the most abundant leukocyte subtype present in our blood, the neutrophil granulocytes.

How does receptor ACKR2 act?

ACKR2 was found expressed in early blood cell progenitors and its genetic inhibition promotes release of neutrophils from the bone marrow and maturation of neutrophils that are more prone to kill metastatized tumor cells.

Which tumors were involved in the experiments?

The researchers obtained protection from metastasis in in vivo experimental models of breast and melanoma tumors but also with a strain of mouse prone to breast tumors, which more closely mimic how cancer arises in humans. These data provide the rationale to target ACKR2 to unleash the antitumor activity of neutrophils as a new anti-metastatic strategy.

Read the full article on Nature Communications.

Raffaella Bonecchi, professor of Experimental Medicine and Physiopathology at Humanitas University, is the corresponding author of the study, funded by AIRC and developed at the Humanitas Research Center in the laboratory of Leukocyte Biology, directed by professor Massimo Locati of University of Milan. The first authors of the study are Matteo Massara and Ornella Bonavita, two young post-doc researchers at Humanitas.

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