Funded by Gastric Cancer Foundation
Gastric cancer develops in the setting of chronic inflammation that both promotes cancer progression and that also blocks the body’s immune response which otherwise might restrain tumor growth. Chronic inflammation comprises a number of different types of white blood cells, but one type, called “myeloid derived suppressor cells”, plays an important role in blocking T lymphocytes, the main immune cell that protects us against cancer. We have shown in several mouse models that “myeloid suppressors” expand in gastric cancer and mediate some of the resistance to the newest immune therapies (called immune checkpoint inhibitors such as anti-PD1 drugs). We are proposing to study the importance of these myeloid suppressor cells further using several different mouse models and also analysis of human gastric cancer tissues. We will be testing a novel peptide shown by our lab to inhibit the expansion of myeloid suppressors, and also a small molecule that we have shown can inhibit the production of these cells in the bone marrow. Overall, our goal is to advance new therapies to target inflammatory cells that resistance to immune therapies in cancer.