Radiation therapy can cause significant toxicity in patients. Lower doses help limit this damage, but can also decrease the treatment’s effectiveness. Dr. Olcina is exploring how we might address these toxicities without compromising the treatment itself. Radiotherapy works in part by stimulating an adaptive immune response against cancer, which benefits patients. But it may also activate an innate immune response through the complement pathway that can promote tissue-damaging inflammation. To determine how we might prevent this, she’s characterizing how different doses of radiation activate the complement pathway and how it affects other immune cells, with the goal of identifying ways that immunotherapy might be able to boost radiotherapy’s benefits while reducing its drawbacks.
Stanford University | Bladder Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Esophageal Cancer | 2016 | Amato J. Giaccia, Ph.D.
*Immunotherapy results may vary from patient to patient.
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An interview with bestselling author Charles Graeber about his new book, The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer.
Dr. Jill O’Donnell-Tormey participated in an expert panel discussion on rare cancers for The Forum at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in February 2019.