Cancer Cells Make Unique Form of Collagen, Protecting Them from Immune Response; Finding Is Termed “Fundamental Discovery” Offering “Tremendous Potential for the Development of Highly Specific Therapies That May Improve Patient Responses to Treatment”

Cancer cells produce small amounts of their own form of collagen, creating a unique extracellular matrix that affects the tumor microbiome and protects against immune responses, according to a new study by researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. This abnormal collagen structure is fundamentally different from normal collagen made in the human body, providing a highly specific target for therapeutic strategies. This new study, published on July 21, 2022 in Cancer Cell, builds upon previously published findings from the laboratory of Raghu Kalluri (photo), MD, PhD, Chair of Cancer Biology and Director of Operations for the James P. Allison Institute, to bring a new understanding of the unique roles of collagen made by fibroblasts and by cancer cells. The open-access Cancer Cell article is titled “Oncogenic Collagen I Homotrimers from Cancer Cells Bind to α3β1 Integrin and Impact Tumor Microbiome and Immunity to Promote Pancreatic Cancer.”
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