Quest Quest_Winter_2017 : Page 3

Developing an Innovative Treatment: Prostate Cancer Immunotherapy Research Receives Grant Dr. Catalona is part of a research team seeking to develop a breakthrough immunotherapy treatment for prostate cancer. The project is unique because the multidisciplinary team will use advances in the fields of nanotechnology and immune-oncology to design and test the treatment. The Prostate Cancer Foundation has awarded this project a $1 million Challenge Award grant, enabling the work to begin soon. antigens and cellular signals that activate effective anti-tumor immune responses. Unlike other vaccines that have been developed to treat prostate cancer, particularly those that are cell-based or use viral vectors, the SNA vaccines are chemical in nature. This chemical nature gives Researchers examine things on the researchers precise control over the smallest scale and extrapolate information vaccine's composition and structure, on a large scale. and thereby provides an opportunity to design a vaccine consisting specifically also test the SNA vaccine in combination of prostate cancer-specific antigens and with other types of immunotherapies, immunestimulatory molecules. SNAs are including checkpoint blockade agents. able to efficiently enter immune system cells to induce cellular immune responses Multidisciplinary expert team to target and attack prostate cancer cells. Principal Investigator Chad Mirkin, I mmunotherapy is a treatment that helps a patient’s own immune system attack and kill tumor cells. Although there have been advances in the development of immunotherapies for other cancers, the field has not been as successful in prostate cancer. Some researchers have speculated this is because prostate tumors do not contain many “infiltrating” immune cells that enter tumor tissues and have direct contact with tumor cells. Targeting a prostate cancer protein Specifically, the researchers will develop and test various forms of SNAs to vaccinate against the protein PSMA, of which prostate cancer cells express high amounts. The team will evaluate the effectiveness of the SNA vaccines in preclinical models in the laboratory, testing how well they activate immune T-cell responses against the PSMA protein and prohibit tumor growth. They will Using nanotechnology to hone in on tumor cells The new project is entitled S pherical Nucleic Acids as Therapeutic Vaccines for the Treatment of Prostate Cancer . The goal of the project is to develop an original “spherical nucleic acid” (SNA) vaccine made of tiny nanoparticles that can carry PhD leads the project. Dr. Mirkin is a chemist at Northwestern University and Director of the International Institute for Nanotechnology. The research team also includes Bin Zhang, M.D./PhD, a mouse immunologist; Timothy Kuzel, M.D., an oncologist; and Andrew Lee, PhD, a chemist. Dr. Catalona helped write the grant and will help recruit patients to participate in the studies involving human immune cells. International Media Coverage September 26, 2017 Australian Financial Review When to take a prostate cancer test? Test inventor William Catalona can tell you n an interview with the Australian Financial Review , Dr. Catalona explained his views on PSA testing and active William Catalona, M.D. surveillance. Dr. Catalona has “no doubt” about PSA’s importance as a screening tool for prostate cancer. Dr. Catalona said, “A man should be tested in his 40s and early 50s. At this age, his PSA should be less than 1. If it’s higher, then that is [the] most powerful predictor of the probability of him developing metastatic or lethal prostate cancer later in life. If it's higher than 1 he should have more intensive screening going forward.” The full article is available online. I Promising future of immunotherapy for prostate cancer Currently there is only one FDA-approved immunotherapy for prostate cancer, sipuleucel-T. This drug has improved overall survival for patients but not progression-free survival, and it has not worked well in patients with advanced prostate cancer. If the SNA vaccine is successful, it could be tested in patients in a clinical trial and eventually provide another independent treatment mechanism to add to surgery, radiation, hormonal and chemotherapy for prostate cancer patients. The SNA vaccine could be an effective treatment for men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer and possibly earlier-stage disease. 3 Q UEST Winter 2017 ©Dan Oldfield

Developing An Innovative Treatment: Prostate Cancer Immunotherapy Research Receives Grant

Dr. Catalona is part of a research team seeking to develop a breakthrough immunotherapy treatment for prostate cancer. The project is unique because the multidisciplinary team will use advances in the fields of nanotechnology and immuneoncology to design and test the treatment. The Prostate Cancer Foundation has awarded this project a $1 million Challenge Award grant, enabling the work to begin soon.

Immunotherapy is a treatment that helps a patient’s own immune system attack and kill tumor cells. Although there have been advances in the development of immunotherapies for other cancers, the field has not been as successful in prostate cancer. Some researchers have speculated this is because prostate tumors do not contain many “infiltrating” immune cells that enter tumor tissues and have direct contact with tumor cells.

Using nanotechnology to hone in on tumor cells

The new project is entitled Spherical Nucleic Acids as Therapeutic Vaccines for the Treatment of Prostate Cancer. The goal of the project is to develop an original “spherical nucleic acid” (SNA) vaccine made of tiny nanoparticles that can carry antigens and cellular signals that activate effective antitumor immune responses. Unlike other vaccines that have been developed to treat prostate cancer, particularly those that are cell-based or use viral vectors, the SNA vaccines are chemical in nature. This chemical nature gives researchers precise control over the vaccine's composition and structure, and thereby provides an opportunity to design a vaccine consisting specifically of prostate cancer-specific antigens and immunestimulatory molecules. SNAs are able to efficiently enter immune system cells to induce cellular immune responses to target and attack prostate cancer cells.

Targeting a prostate cancer protein

Specifically, the researchers will develop and test various forms of SNAs to vaccinate against the protein PSMA, of which prostate cancer cells express high amounts. The team will evaluate the effectiveness of the SNA vaccines in preclinical models in the laboratory, testing how well they activate immune Tcell responses against the PSMA protein and prohibit tumor growth. They will also test the SNA vaccine in combination with other types of immunotherapies, including checkpoint blockade agents.

Multidisciplinary expert team

Principal Investigator Chad Mirkin, PhD leads the project. Dr. Mirkin is a chemist at Northwestern University and Director of the International Institute for Nanotechnology. The research team also includes Bin Zhang, M.D./PhD, a mouse immunologist; Timothy Kuzel, M.D., an oncologist; and Andrew Lee, PhD, a chemist. Dr. Catalona helped write the grant and will help recruit patients to participate in the studies involving human immune cells.

Promising future of immunotherapy for prostate cancer

Currently there is only one FDA-approved immunotherapy for prostate cancer, sipuleucel-T. This drug has improved overall survival for patients but not progression-free survival, and it has not worked well in patients with advanced prostate cancer. If the SNA vaccine is successful, it could be tested in patients in a clinical trial and eventually provide another independent treatment mechanism to add to surgery, radiation, hormonal and chemotherapy for prostate cancer patients. The SNA vaccine could be an effective treatment for men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer and possibly earlier-stage disease.

International Media Coverage

September 26, 2017 Australian Financial Review

When to take a prostate cancer test? Test inventor William Catalona can tell you

In an interview with the Australian Financial Review, Dr. Catalona explained his views on PSA testing and active surveillance. Dr. Catalona has “no doubt” about PSA’s importance as a screening tool for prostate cancer. Dr. Catalona said, “A man should be tested in his 40s and early 50s. At this age, his PSA should be less than 1. If it’s higher, then that is [the] most powerful predictor of the probability of him developing metastatic or lethal prostate cancer later in life. If it's higher than 1 he should have more intensive screening going forward.” The full article is available online.

Read the full article at http://epubs.democratprinting.com/article/Developing+An+Innovative+Treatment%3A+Prostate+Cancer+Immunotherapy+Research+Receives+Grant/2940175/454667/article.html.

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