Ruth Ganss, Ph.D., CLIP InvestigatorHarry Perkins Institute of Medical Research (Australia)

This grant uses a novel approach to enable immune cell infiltration into ‘cold’ tumors and will be vital to improve immunotherapy in these hard-to-treat cancers.
Area of Research: All Cancers, Pancreatic Cancers

Tumor blood vessels are highly chaotic and act to form a barrier which prevents cancer-targeting immune cells from infiltrating into tumors. To that end, Dr. Ruth Ganss has developed and patented a new treatment called LIGHT-VTP therapy, which specifically targets the abnormal blood vessels present in solid cancers, restores vessel function, and enables immune cells to deeply infiltrate the cancer. Now, she’s seeking to expand LIGHT-VTP applications to more advanced and hard-to-treat cancers against which current immunotherapies are ineffective. This includes pancreatic adenocarcinoma, a cancer where blood vessels are compressed in a highly fibrous or desmoplastic environment with overall dismal patient prognosis.

Thus far, Ganss’ team has established sophisticated preclinical models and state-of-the-art imaging techniques to monitor the therapeutic effects of this new treatment approach by itself and in combination with immunotherapies. As part of her commitment to clinical translation, these preclinical studies will be complemented by analyses of matching samples from human pancreatic cancer and brain melanoma metastases. Overall, this research will introduce a necessary and innovative combination treatment approach that could potentially enable more patients to benefit from immunotherapy.

Projects and Grants

Improving Immunotherapy for Desmoplastic and Metastatic Cancers

Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research (Australia) | All Cancers, Pancreatic Cancer | 2020

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