Damon Runyon Researchers

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Fyza Y. Shaikh, MD, PhD

Immunotherapy has significantly changed how lung cancer and melanoma are treated. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of patients experience long-lasting responses. Gut bacteria have emerged as a potential predictor of how patients will respond to immunotherapy and may even be adjusted to enhance the effect of immunotherapy. Dr. Shaikh aims to identify features of the gut microbiome that correlate with immunotherapy responses. She will focus on both individual bacteria as they change over the course of treatment and the metabolites made by the entire bacterial community in the colon. The goal of this project, since gut bacteria can be modified, is to develop microbiome-based treatments to be used in combination with immunotherapy to improve response rates or overcome immunotherapy resistance for patients.

Project title: "Defining microbiome stability and longitudinal shifts as biomarkers of tumor response to immune checkpoint inhibitors across multiple malignancies"
Institution: The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Award Program: Clinical Investigator
Sponsor(s) / Mentor(s): Cynthia L. Sears, MD, and Drew M. Pardoll, MD, PhD
Cancer Type: Lung, Skin
Research Area: Immunotherapy