Aditi Dhir, MD

Funded in partnership with Miami Dolphins Foundation

Sarcomas are cancers of the bone and muscles, often seen in children and young adults, which are very hard to treat with very few patients surviving. Our aim is to improve treatment options for these patients. A vaccine trial using patient’s dendritic cells which are a type of immune cells, modified to identify and attack the individualized cancer was conducted at Sylvester comprehensive cancer center in 2019. Surprisingly, we noted good response in a few patients, who remain cancer free over 2 years from receiving the vaccine treatment. Therefore, the aim of this research proposal is to study the immune/non-immune cells of the surgically removed tumors and blood of patients treated on this trial. Using special high-resolution imaging methods in which key immune markers are tagged in the tissue, we will describe the immune cells in each patient’s cancer environment and correlate these to whether the patient did or did not respond to the cancer vaccine. We will also measure key immune cells in the blood of these patients collected after vaccine treatment and compare this with response to the vaccine. These detailed immune studies on patient tissue and blood samples will then guide future anti-sarcoma cancer vaccines and potential immune cell therapy to cure these aggressive cancers.

Location: University of Miami, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center - Miami
Proposal: Utilization of imaging mass cytometry to evaluate the immune landscape of pediatric and adult patients with sarcoma treated with autologous dendritic cell vaccine
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