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Ariel Munitz, PhD

Ariel Munitz, PhD

Grant Status

Tel Aviv University

Grant Type
Project Grant

Project Title
Transcriptional Regulation of Eosinophils in the Tumor Microenvironment

Tumor Types

Research Topics
Cancer Metastasis, Immunology and Immunotherapy, Lung Cancer, Microenvironment

Named Grant:

The ICRF – Redhill Foundation Project Grant

About the Investigator:

Dr. Munitz’s laboratory is focused on the immune system’s role in cancer and chronic inflammation. He received his BSc in Medical Sciences and PhD in Pharmacology from the Hebrew University. After postdoctoral training at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Ohio, he returned to Tel Aviv University, where he is now a Full Professor in the Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Microbiology and Immunology.

About the Research:

Mortality from breast cancer is primarily due to tumor metastasis, which is typically incurable. Over the past years, it has been gradually acknowledged that the tumor microenvironment (TME) is a critical factor in tumor biology. Scientists have been trying to develop treatments that boost the body’s natural defenses against cancer. Nonetheless, critical barriers still exist in targeting specific cells, highlighting the urgent need to understand the actions of other immune cells in the TME, such as eosinophils.

Eosinophils are white blood cells traditionally studied in the context of allergic diseases and parasitic infections. They have compelling abilities to induce cell death and damage, an excellent process for the host in settings of parasitic infections, but detrimental in allergic inflammation. An additional location where the activities of eosinophils may be advantageous is cancer, where the recruitment of eosinophils can result in substantial damage to tumor cells. Preliminary data from the Munitz laboratory have shown that eosinophils are recruited to multiple tumors and can induce a significant anti-tumor effect by directly interacting with tumor cells or via the recruitment and activation of other immune cells.

With previous support from the ICRF, Dr. Munitz and his team have shown that eosinophils are recruited and activated in human and experimental breast cancer that has metastasized to the lung, where they have potent anti-tumor activity. Nonetheless, the molecular pathways that govern the anti-tumor activities of eosinophils are mainly unknown. In this proposal, Dr. Munitz aims to study the role of a critical molecule termed STAT3, which was identified as a potential regulator of eosinophil activity in the TME. The results of this study should be translated into novel therapies targeting eosinophils as potent targets in the tumor microenvironment and especially in lung metastasis


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