Melanoma is one of the most aggressive types of cancer, and it commonly metastasizes, or spreads, to other tissues and organs and becomes resistant to treatment. By releasing the “brakes” on the immune system, checkpoint immunotherapies have helped patients’ own immune systems to eliminate their melanoma and survive long-term; however, these treatments still only work on a fraction of patients.
Interestingly, recent studies have found that intestinal bacteria appear to impact how melanoma patients respond to immunotherapy as well as chemotherapy, so Dr. Vetizou is focusing on characterizing the bacteria in patients and how different species influence responses to treatment. These mechanistic studies will be performed in mice that lack bacteria, which will enable her to reconstitute their intestinal bacteria and examine the impact of certain types. Overall, Vetizou’s work may reveal strategies that doctors can use to better predict which patients might respond to treatment, and perhaps even pave the way for approaches that can supplement patients with beneficial bacteria to improve responses and survival.
Projects and Grants
Targeting microbiota for improving cancer immunotherapy
National Cancer Institute | All Cancers, Melanoma | 2018 | Giorgio Trinchieri, M.D.
Let's spread the word about Immunotherapy! Click to share this page with your community.