Dendritic cells (DCs) play crucial roles in coordinating immune responses, including against cancer, by educating other immune cells about what to target. However, tumors often lack these important DCs, so Dr. Brody is exploring if a combination immunotherapy in lymphoma patients can enhance their activity. Specifically, the approach includes three different therapies: injection of a DC growth factor (Flt3L) to increase the number of DCs; low-dose radiotherapy to make the cancer cells release antigens for DCs; and injection of an immune stimulant (poly-ICLC) to activate DCs. The process is called an in situ vaccine and he’s successfully helped shrink tumors in several patients. Moving forward, Dr. Brody will design a clinical trial to determine if checkpoint inhibitors can make the vaccine even more effective.
Our immune systems have been evolving for hundreds of thousands of years to be able to distinguish infections from our own healthy cells. We can use that power to teach the immune system how to distinguish cancer cells from healthy cells, and hopefully cure our patients and get them back to their lives.
Projects and Grants
Flt3L-primed in situ vaccination for low-grade lymphoma
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai | Breast Cancer, Lymphoma, Melanoma, Prostate Cancer | 2015
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