The mission of the Cancer Immunology (CI) Program is to understand the basic biology of the immune response to cancer and to use those data to optimize immunotherapy for cancer?first in preclinical models, and subsequently through the design and execution of cutting-edge translational clinical trials. The Program, formerly led by Drew Pardoll, M.D., Ph.D., and Elizabeth Jaffee, M.D., is now led by Dr. Pardoll and Charles Drake, M.D., Ph.D., as Dr. Jaffee assumed the role of Deputy Director of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center (SKCCC). The Program includes 21 members from seven departments within the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. National Cancer Institute (NCI) and other peer-reviewed support of Program members totals $8.9 million total costs annually, and the Program receives an additional $26.1 million annually in nonpeer-reviewed funding. Sixteen members have peer-reviewed funding. The total number of publications by Program members is 434, of which 108 (25%) were Intra-Programmatic, 188 (43%) were Inter- Programmatic and 142 (33%) were multi-institutional collaborations. Building on basic, translational and clinical trials successes over the past five years, the Program seeks to harvest the untapped capacity of the immune system's power to provide further durable cancer remission and even cure. The Programs aims are to:
Aim 1 : Continue to unravel basic mechanisms of immune regulation and cancer immunity that will fuel the next generation of cancer immunotherapies.
Aim 2 : Utilize appropriate preclinical models to understand and optimize antitumor immunity, including identification of the most potent combinatorial approaches, such as vaccines together with checkpoint inhibitors.
Aim 3 : Initiate and complete cutting-edge clinical trials, including the incorporation of appropriate translational biomarker studies designed to guide, with precision, current and next-generation immunotherapies. In particular, the Program will build on studies over the past five years identifying ligands in the tumor microenvironment (TME) and on tumor genetics and viral association as predictors of response to checkpoint blockade.
These aims are facilitated by partnerships among laboratory-focused investigators, translational investigators in the CI Program and multiple other SKCCC Programs to jointly develop specific preclinical immunotherapy strategies and then translate them into the most suitable clinical settings. Notable advances over the past five years include 1) the preclinical testing and foundational clinical development of the first anti-PD-1 antibodies in cancer therapy, 2) development of the PD-L1 biomarker, 3) demonstration that mismatch repair deficiency (MMRd) cancers and virus-associated cancers have a very high response to anti-PD-1, 3) demonstration of patient benefit with novel prime-boost vaccine strategies in pancreas cancer, 4) development of marrow- infiltrating lymphocytes for adoptive cell therapy, 5) discovery of four novel immune checkpoint pathways, 6) development of a novel vaccine platform (STINGVAX), and 7) discovery of metabolic pathways that modulate T cell function and enhance antitumor efficacy.

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National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Center Core Grants (P30)
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Subcommittee I - Transistion to Independence (NCI)
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Johns Hopkins University
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Isenberg, Sarina R; Lu, Chunhua; McQuade, John et al. (2017) Impact of a New Palliative Care Program on Health System Finances: An Analysis of the Palliative Care Program Inpatient Unit and Consultations at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. J Oncol Pract 13:e421-e430
Husain, Hatim; Velculescu, Victor E (2017) Cancer DNA in the Circulation: The Liquid Biopsy. JAMA 318:1272-1274
Holdhoff, Matthias; Cairncross, Gregory J; Kollmeyer, Thomas M et al. (2017) Genetic landscape of extreme responders with anaplastic oligodendroglioma. Oncotarget 8:35523-35531
Oh, Min-Hee; Collins, Samuel L; Sun, Im-Hong et al. (2017) mTORC2 Signaling Selectively Regulates the Generation and Function of Tissue-Resident Peritoneal Macrophages. Cell Rep 20:2439-2454
Klein, Orly R; Buddenbaum, Jessica; Tucker, Noah et al. (2017) Nonmyeloablative Haploidentical Bone Marrow Transplantation with Post-Transplantation Cyclophosphamide for Pediatric and Young Adult Patients with High-Risk Hematologic Malignancies. Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 23:325-332
Johnson 3rd, Burles A; Yarchoan, Mark; Lee, Valerie et al. (2017) Strategies for Increasing Pancreatic Tumor Immunogenicity. Clin Cancer Res 23:1656-1669
Antonarakis, Emmanuel S; Lu, Changxue; Luber, Brandon et al. (2017) Clinical Significance of Androgen Receptor Splice Variant-7 mRNA Detection in Circulating Tumor Cells of Men With Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer Treated With First- and Second-Line Abiraterone and Enzalutamide. J Clin Oncol 35:2149-2156
Cohen, Joshua D; Javed, Ammar A; Thoburn, Christopher et al. (2017) Combined circulating tumor DNA and protein biomarker-based liquid biopsy for the earlier detection of pancreatic cancers. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 114:10202-10207
McCurdy, Shannon R; Kasamon, Yvette L; Kanakry, Christopher G et al. (2017) Comparable composite endpoints after HLA-matched and HLA-haploidentical transplantation with post-transplantation cyclophosphamide. Haematologica 102:391-400
Isella, Claudio; Brundu, Francesco; Bellomo, Sara E et al. (2017) Selective analysis of cancer-cell intrinsic transcriptional traits defines novel clinically relevant subtypes of colorectal cancer. Nat Commun 8:15107

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