Craig L. Slingluff Jr., M.D., Wade F. B. Thompson CLIP InvestigatorUniversity of Virginia Health System

My laboratory deeply appreciates the CRI for its support of this project, which enables a new collaboration and will provide crucial new data to understand how to optimize cancer vaccines.
Area of Research: All Cancers

Therapeutic cancer vaccines are an emerging and promising immunotherapy approach. In addition to the information that tells the immune system what a patient’s tumor “looks like,” another important component of vaccines is the vaccine adjuvant, which help stimulate the immune system to act on that information. However, it remains unclear how exactly adjuvants work in the context of cancer vaccines, so Dr. Slingluff is investigating different adjuvants to define their mechanisms and effectiveness.

Specifically, he is examining vaccine-site samples from almost one hundred patients who received vaccines with either an IFA adjuvant, a poly ICLC adjuvant, or a combination of both. Through comprehensive analysis of these samples, Slingluff aims to:

  1. determine how these vaccine adjuvants support the activation of dendritic cells, a type of immune cell that orchestrates immune responses
  2. evaluate whether repeated same-site vaccination induces favorable activity with respect to T cells and immune cells known as myeloid cells
  3. assess how bacteria residing on the skin influence immune responses to vaccination 

Overall, the insights uncovered by these investigations should improve our understanding of cancer vaccine strategies and pave the way for the development of improved approaches for patients in the clinic.

Projects and Grants

Barrier Molecules and Their Impact on T cell Infiltration in Melanoma

University of Virginia Health System | Melanoma | 2017

Retention integrins: induction and function on cancer-reactive T lymphocytes

University of Virginia Health System | Lung Cancer, Melanoma | 2015

Immunotherapeutic targeting cell surface neoantigen SAS1B

University of Virginia Health System | Kidney Cancer, Pancreatic Cancer | 2015

Effects of vaccine adjuvants and skin microbiome in the vaccine-site microenvironment

University of Virginia Health System | All Cancers | 2020

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