Grants - Translational Grants - North Carolina - 2019

Gaorav Gupta, M.D., Ph.D. & Benjamin Vincent, M.D.

Funded by Hooters of America, LLC

Immunotherapy has revolutionized our ability to care for cancer patients, and works by enabling one’s own immune system to detect and kill cancer cells. Unfortunately, immunotherapy has not yet been broadly effective against the most common type of breast cancer, which is driven by the estrogen hormone (ER-positive or “Luminal” breast cancer). This project aims to overcome this challenge. We will investigate whether radiation treatment in combination with other targeted therapies can overcome resistance to immunotherapy in Luminal breast cancer. We will use clinically relevant breast cancer models to better understand how radiation and immunotherapy work together to stimulate anti-tumor immunity. We will use genetic tests to identify biomarkers of an effective immune response, as well as biomarkers of treatment failure. Finally, we will apply these tests to a clinical trial of radiation and immunotherapy in breast cancer patients. Our goal for this project is to determine whether radiation-immunotherapy combinations can potentially improve the lives of patients with breast cancer. We anticipate that results from this project will inform the optimal design of clinical trials investigating radiation-immunotherapy combinations in breast cancer patients.