Karen Anderson – “Designing Cancer Vaccines: From Antigen Identification to Targeting Tumor Dormancy”

Speaker: Karen Anderson, MD, PhD, Dr. Anderson graduated from the University of Virginia with a BA in Chemistry. She then completed a combined MD and PhD program at Duke University, where she studied immunology under Dr. Peter Cresswell, a National Academy member and HHMI investigator now at Yale University. She completed internal medicine residency at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and hematology/oncology fellowship training at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, where she remained for 11 years as faculty, until she came here to ASU in late 2011. Her laboratory focuses on understanding how the immune response can be harnessed to detect and alter cancer development.

Location: Biodesign Auditorium

Web Cast: View Web Cast

Date & Time: April 19th, 2012 12:00 p.m.

Title: Designing Cancer Vaccines: From Antigen Identification to Targeting Tumor Dormancy

Abstract: Cancer does not exist in a vacuum: the host immune system continuously monitors cells for alterations in protein content and structure. Several key questions in cancer immunology are the identification of antigens associated with tumor destruction, optimal timing and method of antigen delivery, and the identification of the regulatory pathways and tumor heterogeneity that limit effective immunity. The design of future vaccines requires understanding both the targets and the biology of effective anti-tumor immune responses. To determine if tumor cells can induce effective immune responses, we conducted first-in-human clinical trials of autologous breast cancer vaccination with tumor cells engineered to secrete granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF), a potent cytokine that stimulates immune activation. These studies demonstrated that autologous vaccination induces both antibody and T-cell immunity to tumor-derived proteins with minimal toxicity. Using proteomic monitoring of immune responses, the breadth and specificity of the immune response was determined. However, the timing of immune activation is critical; immunotherapy is likely to be most effective at eradicating minimal residual disease before the immune system is too impaired from the burden of disease. For breast and prostate cancers, tumor cells may disseminate early, and are frequently found dormant for years in the bone marrow prior to reactivation. The design of future immunotherapies that target both primary and disseminated tumor cells in the bone marrow will be discussed.

Thank you and if you have questions please contact Amanda Wilber! And don’t forget, coffee will be served!

Amanda Wilber, Center for the Convergence of Physical Science and Cancer Biology

Arizona State University | P.O. Box 871504 | Tempe, AZ 85287

480.965.3860 | Fax: 480.965.6362
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