Metabolic Requirements for Alternative Macrophage Activation

Tech ID: 29801 / UC Case 2018-388-0


UCLA researchers in the Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology have discovered that Coenzyme A is a targetable requirement for anti-inflammatory macrophage differentiation.


A dysregulated immune response is a hallmark of many disease phenotypes. For instance, cancer cells can reprogram healthy cells of the innate immune cells to work in conjunction to promote cancer cell growth. There are currently a number of methods being explored to combat this reprogramming, though these methods have shown limited success. There exists an unmet need for a therapy that relies on naturally-occurring bodily substances to help combat this reprogramming either on its own or in conjunction with current standard-of-care cancer treatments such as chemotherapy.


Drs. Divakaruni and Bensinger at UCLA have discovered that Coenzyme-A (CoA) is a targetable requirement for anti-inflammatory macrophage differentiation. This discovery provides a potential point of targeting for macrophage differentiation in cancer models. The identification of CoA as a target for macrophage differentiation can also be used as a point of therapy for many other diseases where an excessive anti-inflammatory response can be causative of pathology (e.g. fibrotic disease, NASH/NAFLD, etc.).


  • Elevate CoA levels to improve conditions involving excess inflammation, in cases like: parasitic infections, diet induced obesity, sepsis, rheumatoid arthritis, eczemas, allergic or atopic dermatitis, and inflammatory conditions of the eye 
  • Topical, subcutaneous, or intravenous application of CoA could also lead to benefits for: wound healing following surgeries, injuries, burn, or skin damage due to radiation or sunburn  
  • Lowering levels of CoA could help to treat: non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and hepatic steatosis, pulmonary fibrosis, cardiac hypertrophy, and certain cancers.


  • First study to show that CoA is a targetable requirement for anti-inflammatory macrophage differentiation 
  • Study directly suggests that drugs that could target rate-controlling enzymes in CoA biosynthesis could help to treat diseases like: fatty liver disease, non-alcoholic hepatic steatosis, pulmonary fibrosis, cardiac hypertrophy, and cancer (targets not typically used currently) 
  • The suggested use of increasing CoA could be strong evidence for why pre-existing supplements are good for one’s health

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  • Divakaruni, Ajit

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Immune Response, Cancer, Inflammation, Parasitic Infections, Diet induced obesity, Sepsis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Eczemas, Dermatitis, inflammatory eye disease, fatty liver disease, hepatic steatosis, pulmonary fibrosis, Coenzyme-A, Natural Target

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