Dendritic cells are powerful antigen-presenting cells that are crucial for immune responses including those against tumor cells. These cells process and present invading and disease-causing cells and molecules to T cells. When dendritic cells fuse with tumor antigens, T cells are activated to induce anti-tumor immunity.
Tumor growth and expansion is enhanced by the development of a tumor blood supply. The development and growth of new vessels (angiogenesis) that occur in growing tumors provide a means to carry nutrients and other factors to tumors. For a tumor to grow past a certain size, an adequate blood supply is necessary.
Given the known antigen-fusing and presenting capacity of dendritic cells and the blood-supply dependence of tumors, scientists conducted studies to determine the effect of dendritic cell fusion with tumor-associated endothelial cells on tumor growth. They obtained dendritic cells from the bone marrow of experimental mice. The endothelial cells (expressing CD105, a marker for angiogenesis not found in normal blood vessels) came from a mouse hepatoma cell line.
Various cell mixtures were tested to determine the capacity to induce T cell responses (dendritic cells alone, endothelial cells alone, a simple mixture of dendritic cells with endothelial cells, and dendritic cells fused to endothelial cells via a culturing technique). T cells were incubated with one of each of the cell mixtures to determine T cell responses. They found that each mixture could induce T cells proliferation, but the strongest effect was seen with the dendritic and endothelial cells fusions. Furthermore, the fusion group was the only one to induce cytokine secretion to any appreciable level.
The T cells that were induced from the different cell mixture groups were injected into mice exposed to tumor cells of a hepatoma cell line. It was found that the T cells induced by the dendritic and endothelial cell fusions were able to suppress tumor growth. These research results show the potential to target tumor endothelial cells to inhibit angiogenesis needed for tumor growth. This may serve as a basis for the development of new and effective anti-tumor vaccination approaches.
Huang, Yingying et al. "Fusions Of Tumor-Derived Endothelial Cells With Dendritic Cells Induces Antitumor Immunity". N.p., 2017. Print.