Episode 16

Turning Cold Tumours Hot with Engineered Macrophages with Dr Simon Bredl of UHZ

Solid tumours can be roughly classified into two groups - hot and cold. Hot tumours experience inflammation and are susceptible to drugs like checkpoint inhibitors, and so are more treatable than cold tumours. Cold tumours are just the opposite - they actively dampen the immune system, reducing the effectiveness of cells like macrophages by turning them from the pro-inflammatory M1 type to the anti-inflammatory M2 type.

Dr Simon Bredl discovered a unique feature of macrophages in a mouse model of HIV. Their macrophages behaved strangely, switching to the pro-inflammatory M1 type when given an anti-inflammatory signal. While investigating their potential for HIV treatment, Simon realised these cells could be used to target cold solid tumours - and potentially turn them hot.

In this episode of BioInnovation Spotlight, Simon tells us the story of how an HIV research model led him to pursue cancer treatment and the potential impact these cells could have in cell therapy treatments for hard-to-treat cancers like Triple Negative Breast Cancer.

Simon's work is in collaboration with University Hospital Zurich and the Comprehensive Cancer Center Zurich, and supported by Gebauer Stiftung, Lotte und Adolf Hotz Sprenger-Stiftung, the Claudia von Schilling Foundation for Breast Cancer Research, OPO-Stiftung, Stiftung zur Krebsbekämpfung, and Novartis Foundation for medical-biological research.

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BioInnovation Spotlight
Shining a Light on The Next Big Thing