Monica M. Olcina, Ph.D., Postdoctoral FellowStanford University School of Medicine

The ultimate goal of my research is to make cancer treatments safe and effective for all patients.
Area of Research: Bladder Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Esophageal Cancer

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.

Projects and Grants

Innate immunity and cancer: Targeting the complement system to improve treatment response

Stanford University | Bladder Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Esophageal Cancer | 2016 | Amato J. Giaccia, Ph.D.

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