CRI Funded Scientists

Jared H. Rowe, MD, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Area of Research: All Cancers

Cancer therapies using the immune system, known as immune therapy, is rapidly improving treatment outcomes in multiple types of cancers. Although effective for some people, many individuals do not receive benefit from these treatments. Recent evidence suggests that as cancer cells grow, they deplete nutrients (metabolites) locally within the tumor that are essential for immune cells, thus allowing the cancer to escape destruction by the immune system. How this nutrient depletion impacts the response within patients to immune therapies is unknown. However, by understanding which nutrient pathways are defective provides an opportunity to improve immune therapy responses by replacing those metabolites in combination with immune therapy. Given the shear diversity of nutrients within the tumor we performed a broad approach to investigate multiple pathways simultaneously in immune cells. Using this approach, Dr. Rowe has identified the amino acid asparagine as an important regulator of the response to immune therapy. Importantly, by supplementing asparagine he can alter the composition of immune cells within the tumor ultimately leading to an increase in the response to treatment of immune therapies. This proposal will identify the cellular and metabolic mechanisms which drive the improved treatment outcomes we have observed. In doing so Dr. Rowe will 1) generate new understanding of the importance of nutrients within tumors, 2) identify new biology of immune cells through linking with metabolite pathway use, and 3) characterize the potential of the amino acid asparagine as a way to improve treatment outcomes in patients receiving immune therapy.

Projects and Grants

Asparagine metabolism regulates anti-tumor CD8+ T cell response to anti-PD-1 therapy

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute | All Cancers | 2021 | Arlene Sharpe, MD, PhD

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