Dr. Sylvia Kiertscher's research focuses on the immune system's response to cancer, including the events which lead to an anti-tumor response, how the tumor evades these responses and what steps can be taken to improve cancer treatment to prevent this evasion.
This goal is being pursued in three main research areas. The first project involves the effects of the tumor microenvironment on the immune response to cancer. Kiertscher's lab has found that factors produced by tumor cells have a striking ability to disrupt dendritic cell maturation and function. The results from this study provide the rationale for clinical interventions to boost the effectiveness of the patient's dendritic cells.
The second project utilizes the Her-2/neu tumor antigen as a model to examine tumor antigen processing and presentation by dendritic cells, and the interactions of these antigen-loaded DC with T-cells, with the ultimate goal of providing for the most effective anti-tumor T-cell responses in cancer patients.
The third project evaluates the use of novel adenoviral vector systems to transduce dendritic cells with tumor antigens or cytokines for gene medicine applications.
Selected Cancer-Related Publications:
Liau LM, Prins RM, Kiertscher SM, Odesa SK, Kremen TJ, Giovannone AJ, Lin JW, Chute DJ, Mischel PS, Cloughesy TF, Roth MD. Dendritic cell vaccination in glioblastoma patients induces systemic and intracranial T-cell responses modulated by the local central nervous system tumor microenvironment. Clin Cancer Res. 2005 Aug 1;11(15):5515-25.
Basak SK, Kiertscher SM, Harui A, Roth MD. Modifying adenoviral vectors for use as gene-based cancer vaccines. Viral Immunol. 2004;17(2):182-96.
Kiertscher SM, Gitlitz BJ, Figlin RA, Roth MD. Granulocyte/macrophage-colony stimulating factor and interleukin-4 expand and activate type-1 dendritic cells (DC1) when administered in vivo to cancer patients. Int J Cancer. 2003 Nov 1;107(2):256-61.
Roth MD, Cheng Q, Harui A, Basak SK, Mitani K, Low TA, Kiertscher SM. Helper-dependent adenoviral vectors efficiently express transgenes in human dendritic cells but still stimulate antiviral immune responses. J Immunol. 2002 Oct 15;169(8):4651-6.
Kiertscher SM, Luo J, Dubinett SM, Roth MD. Tumors promote altered maturation and early apoptosis of monocyte-derived dendritic cells. J Immunol. 2000 Feb 1;164(3):1269-76.