MAST CELLS AND INTERFERONS AS A NOVEL APPROACH TO IMMUNOTHERAPY USING A MURINE BREAST CANCER MODEL
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Breast cancer has the second highest mortality in women diagnosed with cancer-related disease. Immunotherapy, a strategy targeting regulation of the immune system to combat tumour growth has demonstrated therapeutic potential. Mast cells are sentinel cells of the innate immune system, known to secrete mediators with anti-tumour properties, such as interferons (IFNs) that can enhance anti-tumour immunity or directly kill tumour cells. The feasibility of mast cell-mediated IFN delivery was examined. Mast cells were genetically modified to express a target IFN following induction. This technology was tested using mast cell-deficient mice. Local mast cell reconstitution, with control mast cells, resulted in significant breast tumour growth reduction, in wild type and mast cell-deficient animals. Mast cells modified to deliver local IFN-1 on induction yielded no further reduction. Our findings implicate local mast cells as a potentially important therapeutic target in breast cancer while treatments using IFN delivery require further optimization.