Despite the unprecedented success of checkpoint immunotherapy against cancer, its benefits vary across different types of cancers. Tumors are complex ecosystems within which there are cancer cells as well as stromal cells and immune cells. How the different cells within a tumor communicate with each other is a critical factor in whether immunotherapy will work on not in an individual, and a major part of this communication involves secreted factors known as serum amyloid A (SAA) proteins.
Dr. Song hopes to improve our understanding of SAA proteins, which are normally secreted by the liver, but are also detected in tumors and appear to be important for immunotherapy’s effectiveness. In particular, she seeks to determine where SAA proteins come from in the tumor, and how they mediate anti-tumor immune responses. Dr. Song’s proposed research will seek to answer these questions by identifying SAA-producing cells in diverse tumor types and defining how they communicate, through SAA production, with other cell types to ultimately determine their responsiveness to immunotherapy. With a clear understanding of SAA function in tumor immunology, Dr. Song may be able to leverage the effect of SAAs to increase the likelihood of patient responses and expand the potential of immunotherapy to traditionally hard-to-treat types of cancer.
Projects and Grants
Understanding the Role of Serum Amyloid A Proteins in the Tumor Immune Microenvironment
New York University School of Medicine | All Cancers | 2021 | Dan Littman, M.D., Ph.D.
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