Damon Runyon Researchers

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Abigail Overacre-Delgoffe, PhD

Immune-based therapies have revolutionized the way cancer patients are treated; however, most patients do not benefit from these current treatments. Dr. Overacre-Delgoffe seeks to understand why certain patients do not respond and, along with others in the field, has found that the bacteria (microbes) that reside within the gut can impact this response across cancer types. Dr. Overacre-Delgoffe's research group has previously shown that microbes control the type of immune response formed during colorectal cancer, and that the relationship between microbes and a person’s immune system is critical to effectively fight cancer. Dr. Overacre-Delgoffe plans to tackle a new question: How do microbes residing in the gut impact cancer growth and response to immune-based therapies in cancer types outside of the gut, for example melanoma and pancreatic cancers? Results from this project will lead to a better understanding of therapy resistance mechanisms as well as identify new treatments for patients who do not benefit from current treatments.

Project title: "Harnessing the immune response to cancer through the microbiota"
Institution: UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
Award Program: Dale Frey Scientist
Cancer Type: Colorectal
Research Area: Tumor Immunology