Virginia Vine

Our Fund-A-Need is Immunotherapy

See how one V Foundation Researcher is changing the game.

Immunotherapy harnesses the power of the immune system to fight cancer. This game-changing treatment could revolutionize cancer care. Virginia Vine will raise funds this year to support immunotherapy research.

Meenakshi Hegde, M.D., is a pediatric oncologist whose research in immunotherapy could improve outcomes for patients with high-risk cancer. She received a 2019 Translational Grant from the V Foundation.

Hegde’s research used modified immune cells to find and kill tumor cells. The modified cells did not cause severe adverse reactions in any of the treated patients and more than half of the 10 patients who received the cell treatment benefited from it.

Dr. Hegde will now test if a larger dose of modified cells can be tolerated or if it will increase the chances of benefit. She will also evaluate a new cell modification that could overcome tumor signals that turn off immune cells. The insights gained from this study will help design and develop targeted treatments.

Research in Action

A recent Villanova graduate, Marla Milone had an exciting new job and was living in Manhattan. Although she was not feeling sick, she had pain in her chest and numbness in her arm. At her dad’s urging, she had it checked out. Her life was turned upside down with the diagnosis of Hodgkin lymphoma.

Fortunately, advancements in immunotherapy let Marla make lasting memories cheering on Villanova’s basketball team and exploring the Rocky Mountains, even while she endured seven months of cancer treatment.

Feeling grateful, Marla promised she would find a way to give back. Just months into remission, Marla orchestrated a vibrant gala in New York City to benefit the V Foundation for Cancer Research.  As part of the next generation of cancer research supporters, Marla believes it is her mission to bring us one step closer to Victory Over Cancer®!