Researchers Awarded CPRIT Grant to Study Immunotherapy
March 13, 2019
Qizhi Cathy Yao, M.D., Ph.D., professor in the Department of Surgery, and of Molecular Virology & Microbiology, Pathology & Immunology, and Pharmacology at Baylor College of Medicine, has received a CPRIT (Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas) grant for research titled, “Lymphatic delivery of checkpoint blockade inhibitors for more effective immunotherapy.”
The grant is in collaboration with Dr. Eva M. Sevick, Ph.D., professor and Nancy and Rich Kinder Distinguished Chair of Cardiovascular Disease Research and director of Molecular Imaging at The University of Texas Health Science Center’s Institute of Molecular Medicine. CPRIT provides funding for innovative research projects addressing critically questions that will significantly advance knowledge of the causes, prevention, and/or treatment of cancer.
The primary goal of the study is to determine the immunotherapeutic efficacy by chimeric tumor-specific antigen-incorporated Virus-like particles (VLPs) vaccine plus immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) lymphatic delivery in preclinical animal models and in clinical trials in melanoma patients.
Since systemic administration of ICB has limited drug delivery to the tumor-draining lymphoid targets, higher doses are needed to achieve the optimal therapeutic effect via systemic administration. Severe immune-related adverse events (irAEes) are commonly associated with ICB treatment
In this study, they plan to administrate chimeric tumor-antigen specific VLPs and ICB directly through the tumor-draining LNs. which could result in increased exposure to drug targets in lymphoid tissues presenting with tumor-antigen and reducing irAEes when compared to systemic administration.