Metastasis is the process by which cancer spreads from its initial location to another organ. The brain is one site to which cancer commonly spreads, and once it has, patients are much less likely to experience a positive outcome. Recently, immunotherapy has shown the ability to help patients with brain metastases, and although responses are encouraging, only a minority of patients experience them. This appears to be due, in part, to tumor microenvironments that can suppress cancer-targeting immune responses.
Dr. Valiente’s team recently discovered that a certain type of cell found in the brain can promote the formation of a metastatic niche that supports tumor growth. Now, Valiente is exploring the possibility that these cells might do so by impairing immune responses against cancer cells in the brain and, as a result, prevent immunotherapy from being effective. In particular, he will be examining how these cells influence the activity of cancer-killing T cells, and how therapies targeting those pro-cancer cells might improve immunotherapy’s effects locally. Overall, Valiente’s project aims to uncover the basic principles governing immunosuppression in the brain to define novel approaches that have the potential to increase the efficacy of immunotherapies for these patients.
Projects and Grants
Brain-specific strategies to improve responses to immunotherapy
Fundacion Centro Nacional De Investigaciones Oncologicas Carlos III (Spain) | Brain Cancer | 2019
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