Sean Pitroda, MD
Assistant Professor Department of Radiation and Cellular Oncology, University of Chicago
Tumor Cell-Intrinsic Immune Evasion Mediated by MYC-Dependent microRNA Suppression of Antigen Presentation
Tumor Cell-Intrinsic Immune Evasion Mediated by MYC-Dependent microRNA Suppression of
Metastasis, or the spread of cancer from the place where it originally develops to distant areas of the body, is the leading cause of cancer-related death. Therefore, most patients with metastatic disease are currently considered “incurable” even with modern advancements in medical treatments. This is due in large part to the insidious nature of metastatic disease and its ability to “outsmart” the body’s natural defense system: its immune response. Dr. Pitroda’s lab has discovered that some patients with colorectal cancer who have already developed a few liver metastases can actually be cured with surgery. This has led him to suggest that some metastatic processes are more resilient to therapy than others. He also has found that having a robust immune response significantly improves the likelihood that surgery will offer a cure. Dr. Pitroda proposes to understand how some metastases escape from the immune system or fail to elicit an immune response at all and he has identified a small number of key factors in colorectal cancer he believes are critical to this process. By understanding immune resistance mechanisms and how they may be manipulated along with local surgical therapy, Dr. Pitroda hopes to be able to increase the chance for cure for future patients with metastatic disease.