Cancer Immunology &Immunotherapy Research in the Cancer Immunology &Immunotherapy Program is exploring basic, translational and clinical aspects of lymphoid malignancies and various approaches to cancer immunotherapy. The overall goal of the members of the program is to improve our understanding of the mechanisms of immune system-based cell signaling, differentiation, trafficking, and death with the long-term goal of enhancing our ability to treat lymphoid malignancies and induce a more effective anti-cancer immune response. The program also focuses on translating laboratory advances to the clinic through innovative clinical trials in cancer immunotherapy. There are two major overlapping themes within the Program. The first Theme is Cancer Immunology. The emphasis within this Theme is basic research in Lymphocyte Signaling, Host Responses, and Stem Cell Biology. The emphasis of the complementary translational Cancer Immunotherapy Theme is upon Immunotherapy of Lymphoid Malignancies and Cancer Vaccines. Major accomplishments of the Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy Program over the past funding period include understanding the roles of signaling molecules, including TNFR-associated factors (TRAFs), in lymphoid malignancies, analysis of the mechanisms of action of ahti-CD20 therapeutic antibodies, development of TLR9 agonists as immunotherapeutic agents, and development of a prostate cancer vaccine. There are numerous past and present productive collaborations both between members of the Program, and with members of other Cancer Center programs. Most notable are the collaborative, translational studies taking place through the Lymphoma SPORE. The program consists of 28 members from 1 basic science and 5 clinical departments and 1 College. Peer-reviewed, research funding forthis program totals $9.6 million with $1.5 million coming from the NCI. Program members published 322 cancer-related papers over the prior funding period. Ofthese publications, 16% were intraprogrammatic, 15% were interprogrammatic and 4% were both intra and interprogrammatic, for a total of 36% collaborative publications.
Understanding and manipulating the immune response has great potential for alleviating cancer. Immune cells are a frequent target of the transformation process, with lymphoma a common human cancer, thus understanding how immune cell homeostasis, activation, and death are regulated can contribute important insights in combating these tumors. Additionally, specific manipulation of immune responses is providing new specific, effective, and less toxic therapeutic approaches to controlling and eradicating a large variety of cancers.
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