Study of Galectins in Tumor Immunity: Strategies and Methods
During the past decade, a better understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying tumor immunity has provided the appropriate framework for the development of therapeutic strategies for cancer immunotherapy. Under this complex scenario, galectins have emerged as promising molecular targets for cancer therapy responsible of creating immunosuppressive microenvironments at sites of tumor growth and metastasis. Galectins, expressed in tumor, stromal, and endothelial cells, contribute to thwart the development of immune responses by favoring the expansion of T regulatory cells and contributing to their immunosuppressive activity, driving the differentiation of tolerogenic dendritic cells, limiting T cell viability, and maintaining T cell anergy. The emerging data promise a future scenario in which the selective blockade of individual members of the galectin family, either alone or in combination with other therapeutic regimens, will contribute to halt tumor progression by counteracting tumor-immune escape. Here we describe a selection of methods used to investigate the role of galectin-1 in tumor-immune escape.
Key wordsGalectin Tumor immunity Immunosuppressive Tumor growth Metastasis T regulatory cells Tolerogenic dendritic cells
Work in our laboratory is supported by grants from The Argentinean Agency for Promotion of Science and Technology (G.A.R, M.S., D.J.L, M.A.T, D.C.), University of Buenos Aires (G.A.R), Prostate Cancer Action (G.A.R., D.J.L, D.C), Argentinean Council of Scientific and Technical Investigations (M.S), National Multiple Sclerosis Society (G.A.R.), Broad Foundation (G.A.R.), and Sales Foundation (G.A.R).