Pretty much each of us has been impacted by cancer at some level, whether personally or when a family member is stricken–or both. Because of this, a cure and treatments are constantly being sought at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey’s Cancer Immunology and Metabolism Center of Excellence. And the experts are taking a forward-thinking approach. –By Brian Hurlburt, Founder and Host, Magnifying Excellence Podcast.
From the Center’s Experts:
With a focused and targeted approach to research and treatment, we are bringing patients with cancer new hope in situations where there previously was none. For decades, the cornerstones of cancer treatment were surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. In recent years, immunotherapy has risen to become the capstone. Immunotherapy involves harnessing the power of the body’s own immune system to fight cancer cells. There are several immunologic therapies currently used to treat many different types of cancer, some with great success. However, while some cancers respond well to immunotherapy, others do not respond at all. Why?
The “Why” some cancers don’t respond to immunotherapy is now what the experts are focused on and determined to understand.
We believe the intricacies of cancer metabolism hold the key to answering this question and providing treatment for those previously unresponsive tumors. Discovering and manipulating the cancer cell’s inner workings and exploiting its weaknesses, along with powering the body’s own immune cells to fight cancer, all provide the blueprint for the future in cancer treatment.
Rutgers is examining CAR T-cell technology, which involves using a patient’s T cells (cells within the normal immune system that fight infections in the body) to target and kill cancer cells in the body. This technique has proven highly effective in treating blood cancers. Our cutting-edge research involves identifying how this type of cell therapy may work in treating other, more common types of cancer in addition to blood cancers. We are finding out what makes cancer grow, and how to manipulate its own processes to stop cancer from growing and spreading.
Rutgers Cancer Institute’s Cancer Immunology and Metabolism Center of Excellence is at the intersection of oncologic immunology and metabolism, and seeks to unite these under one umbrella to:
- Increase research that leads to new therapies for patients
- Develop cutting-edge facilities to test new interventions
- Facilitate commercial and university collaborations
- Bring forth a new day in cancer research
Rutgers Cancer Institute’s Cancer Immunology and Metabolism Center of Excellence is united under the leadership of an incomparable pair of Co-Directors: Dr. Christian Hinrichs and Dr. Eileen White. Dr. Hinrichs comes to Rutgers from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), where he pioneered the use of patient immune cells for the treatment of HPV-associated cancers including cancer of the cervix and throat. He has also discovered new technologies to make T cells target a range of common cancers including those arising in the stomach, lung, and breast. The new treatments based on these discoveries will be offered at Rutgers in first-in-human clinical trials. Dr. Eileen White discovered and identified critical metabolic pathways through which cancer cells survive, reproduce, and evade immune responses, paving the way for inhibition of tumor growth to improve anti-cancer immune responses.