Immunotherapy has begun to revolutionize clinical treatment for several different types of advanced cancer. However, accurate monitoring of clinical effectiveness can be challenging due to the delayed and variable responses often witnessed after immunotherapy treatment. In addition, current imaging techniques lack the sensitivity or specificity to monitor early on whether the immunotherapy is working or not. Thus, there is an urgent need to develop a novel technology that can efficiently track the immunotherapy response in real-time.
To address that need, Dr. Kulkarni is combining a first-of-its-kind nanomaterial with cancer immunotherapy and engineer a proof-of-concept ‘self-reporting nanotheranostics’. In preliminary studies, he’s shown that this technology can home into tumors and induce a potent immune response against cancer cells. Additionally, once a T cell response is stimulated, it gives off a signal that can be imaged. This ability to determine the treatment’s potential effectiveness earlier would enable clinicians to better tailor therapy for patients, and would have broad implications for a wide spectrum of cancer patients.
Projects and Grants
Nanoscale platform technology for monitoring immunotherapeutic responses
University of Massachusetts, Amherst | All Cancers, Melanoma | 2019
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