Patients who receive organ transplants must take drugs, such as cyclosporine A (CSA), that suppress the immune system so that their immune system doesn’t attack and reject the organ. Unfortunately, this can also interfere with the immune system’s protective anti-cancer activity, so Dr. Carucci is investigating the pathways that enable cancer’s growth under these conditions. He’s already shown that CSA makes cancer cells more responsive to a molecule known as an interleukin-22. It also increases their migration and invasion, and when it’s blocked, tumors don’t grow as much. Now, Dr. Carucci is looking at how interleukin-22 targets downstream molecules to define the pathways it uses to make the cancers grow. Then, it might be possible to target just those signals and ensure the survival of transplanted organs while protecting patients from potential cancer risks.
I believe that it is imperative that we refine our understanding of the immune system and develop our ability to harness it to develop durable cancer treatment strategies and achieve cures. The Cancer Research Institute enabled us to pursue and develop a line of research that may someday help treat patients with catastrophic skin cancer.
Projects and Grants
Cyclosporine A augments IL22 mediated rescue from serum starvation and potentiates the effects of IL-22 in driving accelerated SCC growth
New York University Medical Center | Skin Cancer | 2015
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