Investigator: Mohamed Simon Arredouani, PhD – Assistant Professor, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Advances in Prostate Cancer Immunotherapy
The immune system protects humans and other mammals from disease by recognizing foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses. It is also thought that tumor cells express molecules foreign to the patient and can be cleared through a process called immune surveillance. This process can break down and the result is cancer progresses and metastasizes.
White blood cells, such as T cells and B cells, are central to the immune response. In prostate cancer certain T cells can kill tumor cells much like an invading bacterial or viral infection. These killer cells infiltrate the tumor together with other T cell populations like regulatory T cells (Tregs) and helper T 17 cells (Th17s). The balance of these cell types determine whether the tumor will be killed by the immune response. Dr. Arredouani’s research goal is to generate prostate cancer vaccines and identify novel methods that will increase the numbers of Th17s to tip the balance of T cells in favor of anti-tumor immunity.
In his second year of PCF funding as a Young Investigator, he has demonstrated that a T cell receptor (protein on the surface of the cell that can elicit a signal) called Tim-1, that regulates the vigor of an anti-tumor immune response, can be manipulated to enhance immunity against prostate cancer cells . To this aim, Dr. Arredouani is using an antibody against Tim-1 that stimulates T cell killing of prostate cancer. In his third year, Dr. Arredouani plans to validate the activity of the Tim-1 antibody in animal models of prostate cancer, and combine this treatment with hormonal therapy. The results of these studies will accelerate the translation of theTim-1 antibody in prostate cancer patients selected for immunotherapy treatment.
Terms to know from this article:
Treatment that adds, blocks, or removes hormones. For certain conditions (such as diabetes or menopause), hormones are given to adjust low hormone levels. To slow or stop the growth of certain cancers (such as prostate and breast cancer), synthetic hormones or other drugs may be given to block the body's natural hormones. Sometimes surgery is needed to remove the gland that makes hormones. Also called hormone therapy, hormone treatment, or endocrine therapy.
Immunotherapy is a type of treatment that boosts or restores the immune system to fight cancer, infections and other diseases. There a several different agents used for immunotherapy; Provenge is one example.
A mass of excess tissue that results from abnormal cell division. Tumors perform no useful body function. They may be benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).