Evidence has emerged recently for a specialised subset of macrophages, those lying on the abluminal surface of blood vessels, performing an array of essential functions in steady state tissues. These include the phagocytosis of pathogens, tight control of both vascular permeability and tissue integrity, and dampening on inappropriate inflammation. Alternatively, the aberrant activity of these perivascular sentinels contributes to the onset and/or progression of various diseases including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and type I diabetes. In my talk, I will outline their multifunctional role in cancer, especially their promotion of tumour repair after various forms of anti-cancer treatment (Hughes et al. 2015. Cancer Res. 75: 3479-91. Lewis et al. 2016. Cancer Cell 30:18-25).
After completing her DPhil in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics in Oxford in 1986, Claire held two postdoctoral positions and a Research Lectureship in the Medical School in Oxford before moving to the Medical School in Sheffield in 1996. She currently holds a Personal Chair in Molecular & Cellular Pathology and heads a research team focussed mainly on the role of macrophage subsets in tumour responses to various anti-cancer treatments. They have also developed ways of using macrophages to target therapeutic genes and viruses to tumours (as reported by the BBC: www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-20795977). Her work is currently funded by grants from Cancer Research UK, Prostate Cancer UK, Breast Cancer Now, and the EU, and she sits on the editorial boards of Cancer Research, Blood, Oncoimmunology and J. Clin Invest Insight. She is a new member of the MRC’s Molecular & Cellular Medicines Board and was awarded a DSc by Oxford University in 2006 for her contribution to the field of tumour inflammation.