Ovarian cancer is often detected at advanced stages when standard surgery and chemotherapy treatments have limited success, and subsequently claims the lives of more than 14,000 American women every year. Since the five-year overall survival rate for patients with metastatic ovarian cancer remains at less than 27%, there is an urgent need to develop novel and more effective strategies against this disease. Current checkpoint immunotherapies are effective in some tumor types, such as melanoma, but not in ovarian cancer. Identifying and understanding the specific pathways that ovarian tumors use to suppress the protective function of immune cells is fundamental for developing the next generation of successful immunotherapies for this malignancy.
Dr. Salvagno is investigating how the stressful conditions within ovarian tumors—much of which was previously revealed by CRI scientist Dr. Juan Cubillos-Ruiz, Salvagno’s current postdoctoral sponsor—can render immune cells dysfunctional and will see if disrupting this stress can generate protective immunity against ovarian cancer. Overall, her project will provide novel mechanistic insights into how ovarian cancer manipulates the function of immune cells to evade immune control and will also establish first-in-class therapeutic interventions aimed at unleashing effective immune responses against ovarian cancer.
Projects and Grants
PERK Signaling in Dendritic Cells Promotes Immune Escape in Ovarian Cancer
Weill Cornell Medicine | Ovarian Cancer | 2020 | Juan R. Cubillos-Ruiz, Ph.D.
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