James Byrne, MD, PhD

Sarcoma tumors is a rare cancer that starts in our body’s connective tissues. These cancers spread quickly and less than 40% of people survive more than a year after it spreads. We need better treatments. One big issue is tumor hypoxia, or a lack of oxygen in the tumor. When tumors grow fast, they cannot get enough oxygen, which makes it hard for our bodies and treatments to fight off the cancer.

We have come up with a new method to get oxygen directly to the tumor using special materials called gas-entrapping materials (GeMs). These GeMs are made in a way similar to making whipped cream in a coffee shop. We plan to use GeMs to deliver oxygen to the tumor, which we believe could make treatments like immunotherapy work better and more safely.

Our research goal is to use a new series of GeMs to release oxygen into the tumor to help fight tumor hypoxia. Making GeMs is simple, cost-effective, and uses components considered safe. We think that using GeMs to increase oxygen could make immunotherapy more effective for spread-out sarcoma tumors.

We hope our research will show that these materials can be safely used with immunotherapy to help the body’s immune response fight the disease. This could mean a new way to get oxygen to tumors and could change how we treat sarcoma and other cancers that have spread to other parts of the body.

Location: Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center - Iowa City
Proposal: Overcoming immunotherapy resistance using oxygen-entrapping materials
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