Identification of Synthetically Immunogenic Compounds to Synergize with Immunotherapy in Neuroblastoma
Our immune system helps fight off infections, but it also helps prevent us from getting cancer. In order to grow and survive, cancers must find ways to avoid detection by the immune system. Several therapies have been developed that help boost the patient’s immune system ability to fight cancer. Some of the newer forms of these therapies have been effective in a subset of cancers, resulting in cures for patients previously thought to have terminal disease. However, these therapies have largely been ineffective in solid tumors in children. This includes neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer that can be particularly devastating.
I will attempt to find drugs that can alter neuroblastomas in a way that will make these “immunotherapies” work the way they do in the adult cancers where they are effective. This could directly benefit neuroblastoma patients by identifying new combination therapies. It could also provide an example of a method for identifying these types of drugs that could be applied to cancers other than neuroblastoma.