DCI Researchers Launch DREAM Trial

Brent Hanks and April Salama at Duke Cancer Center
Less chemo, more targeted immunotherapy for all types of cancer: that’s the dream of cancer researchers today. Brent Hanks, MD, PhD, and April Salama, MD, associate professors in the division of Medical Oncology, are on the leading edge of helping to make that dream a reality for stage four melanoma patients.

While new immunotherapies have revolutionized treatment options for patients with advanced melanoma over the last 10 years, they only work about 50% of the time. With a deeper understanding of the mechanics behind cancer immunotherapy resistance in these patients, a focus of Hanks’ ongoing research, the investigators hope to develop innovative strategies to augment the efficacy of immunotherapy, thereby expanding the patient population that can benefit.

Hanks and his lab team have uncovered one such mechanism: activation of the NLRP3 pathway, which leads to resistance to PD-1 based immunotherapy, a mainstay of therapy for patients with advanced melanoma. By inhibiting the NLRP3 pathway, Hanks and Salama hope to restore the therapeutic efficacy of checkpoint inhibitor drugs.  CONTINUE READING on the Duke Department of Medicine website


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