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How „paralyzed“ immune cells can be reactivated against brain tumors

Microglia and macrophages migrate into a brain tumor and are reprogrammed during this process. Red: Activated state; green: immunosuppressive, "paralyzed" state, yellow: transition between activated and immunosuppressive state.
© Mirco Friedrich / DKFZ

Researchers discovered, that brain tumor cells carrying a certain but common mutation, reprogram invading immune cells and thereby suppress the body’s immune defense against the tumor. The research team also identified a way of reactivating the paralyzed immune system to fight the tumor and provide evidence that therapeutic vaccines or immunotherapies against brain tumors are more effective, if the suppressed immune system is simultaneously treated and thereby supported by pharmacological substances.

Press release of the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg (English Language):
25.05.2021 How "paralyzed" immune cells can be reactivated against brain tumors (

Press release of the Medical Faculty Mannheim (German Language):
26.05.2021 Wie sich „gelähmte” Immunzellen gegen Hirntumoren reaktivieren lassen: UMM Universitätsmedizin Mannheim (

Original scientific publication:

Tryptophan metabolism drives dynamic immunosuppressive myeloid states in IDH-mutant gliomas.
Mirco Friedrich, Roman Sankowski, Lukas Bunse, […] and Michael Platten:
Nature Cancer 2021, DOI: