Immunotherapy Research Updates

Some breast cancer cells can hide from immune cells to stay alive. How?

Seventy percent of breast cancer patients don’t respond to immunotherapy. Xinna Zhang, PhD, leads a collaborative research team that set out to answer key questions: How do breast cancer cells develop this immune evasion mechanism, and could targeting that action lead to improved immunotherapies?

Immunotherapy researcher Xinna Zhang, PhD

Zhang and colleagues found that when breast cancer cells have an increased level of a protein called MAL2 on the cell surface, the cancer cells can evade immune attacks and continue to grow.

Researchers at the Brown Center are now exploring ways these findings could be used to develop and improve breast cancer therapies.

Read the Press Release Read the Journal Article

Nobody believed 20 years ago that immunotherapy would be central to curing cancer. We’re not there yet with breast cancer, but we’re on our way.

Kelvin Lee, MD — Director, IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center

Changing the standard of care: Greg Durm, MD

For decades, the treatment for patients with stage 1 non-small cell lung cancer remained the same: surgery. But in the last year scientists reported that adding an immunotherapy drug called Keytruda produced positive results.

At the Brown Center, we’re interested in whether that therapy might benefit patients whose disease is so new it’s discovered by chance–a finding that pops up on a CT scan.

Greg Durm, MD, is leading a clinical trial for the therapy, one of several conducted within the prestigious Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium. The study—the only one taking place in the field—has the potential to change the standard of care.

Meet Dr. Durm Read the IU Magazine Article

Fabiana Perna, MD, PhD


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