Grants - Translational Grants - Texas - 2021

Valentina Hoyos, MD

Funded by Hooters of America, LLC

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women, causing many deaths each year. When the cancer has spread in the person’s body, the available treatments have many side effects and often cannot cure the disease. Research has shown promising results using immunotherapies, which make the patient’s own immune system attack the cancer. T cells are important cells of the immune system and can be very effective at attacking and killing cancer cells. Some breast cancers have a protein called HER2 that can be used as a target for T cells to attach. We plan to take the patient’s own T-cells and train them in the laboratory to attack breast cancer cells that have HER2. This treatment has proven safe in other cancer types and should have minimal side effects. However, breast cancer tumors are made up of different kinds of cells, not just cancer cells. Thus, we also plan to arm the T-cells with extra measures to get rid of the other bad cells in the tumor, making it easier for the T cells to eliminate all of the cancer. Based on previous research, we know that when successful, results using this kind of T cell-based therapy are long lasting for patients and can even cure their disease. With the recent FDA approval of T-cell therapies for several cancers, we are confident that the proposed project has the potential to improve the lives of patients with breast cancer.