Cancer Prevention / News
Cutting Edge Translational Research Opportunities at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center
Public Health Challenge
Translational research is scientific research that facilitates the translation of findings from basic science to practical applications that enhance human health and well-being.
The pancreas is the fourth most common site and cause of cancer death because it develops stealthily and progresses before diagnosis. Using pancreatic cancer as an example, the critical elements required for successful translational cancer research in the 21st Century are:
Organized team of multidisciplinary basic and clinical researchers
- Outstanding clinical care in a multidisciplinary clinic
- Tissue acquisition and banking accessible to all members
- Active clinical trials enrollment program
Funding mechanisms for high risk projects and Cores (SKCCC)
- Sol Goldman Pancreatic Cancer Center – pilot funding
- Skip Viragh Clinical Pancreatic Cancer Center – pilot funding, tissue banks, clinical research infrastructure
- GI SPORE Program Grant – R01s/career development/pilots
- Pancreatic Cancer Foundations (PANCAN, LUSTGARTEN)
- Institutional Cores that keep up with technologies
An important aspect of translational research is development of a concept to test in patients from prior hypotheses, pre-clinical experimentation and insightful findings. Three of these concepts under consideration in the SKCC GI Program are:
- Inflammation helps shape the tumor micro-environment and is intermediary between genetic alterations and the development of cancer.
- Vaccines can alter the balance between pro-carcinogenic and anti-tumor responses. Vaccines induce T cells that likely upregulate T cell “check point pathways” when they traffic into tumors. The pancreas cancer mutome is highly individualized and thus vaccines are personalized.
- Risk profiles, diagnosis, staging criteria and therapies can be developed with knowledge of genetic and epigenetic pathways.
- Combined vaccine and chemotherapy improves survival.
These concepts are hypothesis tested in proof of principle clinical trials, tested for efficacy and safety in clinical trials, and validated.
Future Research Directions
Identify the increasing number of regulatory pathways that require modulation to favorably tip the balance toward antitumor immunity. Gene array analysis on microdissected lymphoid aggregates are leading to improved understanding of immune signatures in the tumor microenvironment. Extend current findings into autologous mutations. Generate a preclinical animal model for testing vaccine strategies.Back to Home