MRC Centre for Reproductive Health
MRC Logo JAN 2019


Leading the way in myeloid regulatory cell research

The COST Action Mye-EUNITER is a network of scientists who are undertaking exploratory research into myeloid regulatory cells. The main objective is to establish technical standards for the characterisation and analysis of these cells.

This article was first published on 5 July, 2017

In a healthy person the immune system is balanced to provide protection against harmful pathogens or malignant cells whilst remaining tolerant to our own body tissues. In diseases such as inflammation, auto-immune diseases, and cancer, an imbalance in this system occurs.

Current research shows that myeloid regulatory cells contribute to this pathological immune imbalance. The dysfunction of these cells is still poorly understood because myeloid regulatory cells have been researched using vastly different methods and markers.

Luca Cassetta, Senior Postdoctoral Fellow at MRC Centre of Reproductive Health, is leading Working Group One of Mye-EUNITER (alongside Gosse Adema from NL).

Cassetta and Jeff Pollard, Director of the MRC Centre of Reproductive Health, are working towards the creation of a commonly accepted panel of markers that can be used to identify Myeloid Regulatory Cell subtypes. Their key aim is defining a gold standard of protocol that will be used across Europe to analyse and monitor myeloid regulatory cell subtypes.

A paper will be published on this topic in the near future. Cassetta and Pollard also plan to write a series of reviews to summarise the activity that has taken place since their laboratory research began in 2014.


  • Myeloid regulatory cells are a specialised subset of white blood cells which include monocytes, granulocytes, dendritic cells, macrophages and myeloid-derived suppressor cells.
  • COST is the longest-running European framework supporting trans-national cooperation among researchers, engineers and scholars across Europe. It was created in 1971 as a means for them to jointly develop ideas and new initiatives across all fields in science and technology, through pan-European networking of nationally funded research activities.
  • The COST Action Mye-EUNITER boasts a team of scientists from UK, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, as well as collaborative partners in USA.
  • Luca Cassetta’s scientific interest is primarily focused on the genomic wide and flow cytometric characterisation of human monocytes and macrophages in cancer.
  • The COST Action Mye-Euniter research taking place at MRC Centre of Reproductive Health is funded by Wellcome Trust.