Christina Annunziata, M.D., Ph.D., has focused most of her job to finding out ovarian cancer with the aim of identifying new remedies for women. She works at the Centre for Cancer Study at the National Cancer Institute. She shares updates on new immunotherapy analysis and what it could mean for ovarian cancer remedy in the next couple of years.

Notify us about some of your the latest analysis on ovarian cancer.

My analysis focuses on the intraperitoneal environment—or the spot inside of of the belly cavity lining. We are searching at therapies we could use there to address ovarian cancer. One of the approaches we are getting is searching at the immune system cells in this spot. We’re also searching at why these immune system cells aren’t killing ovarian cancer cells.

What is the function of the immune system in combating ovarian cancer?

Persons have two kinds of immune systems. You will find the adaptive immune system, which is what most people imagine of when they get sick. This immune system is activated by exposure to pathogens. People are the viruses, micro organism, or other microorganisms that can cause illness. It builds a memory about these threats in order to strengthen the immune response.

You will find also the innate immune system. It works to prevent the distribute and movement of overseas pathogens through the system. This is the initially line of protection against invading pathogens, and it is really what we are concentrating our analysis on.

What we’ve identified is that the innate immune system is incredibly critical in managing ovarian cancer. We have also learned that it can be managed by ovarian cancer. The cancer is discovering techniques to escape the innate immune system cells, which are designed to struggle it. Our intention is to make the innate immune system perform improved so that we can improved contain ovarian cancer.

How are you doing that?

We are presently performing a scientific trial in which we choose the innate immune cells, referred to as monocytes, out of the patient’s blood. We use a method referred to as apheresis that separates the plasma from the cells. We stimulate the monocytes, which activates them to eliminate cancer cells. As soon as they are activated, we place the cells back again inside of the belly cavity lining.

We’re optimistic about this likely remedy, but it is really just a starting off level for resetting the immune system. It could be employed as a platform to make far more elaborate immune therapies, but by alone, it in all probability won’t be a get rid of for ovarian cancer.

What do you want people to know about ovarian cancer analysis?

Persons with ovarian cancer must have hope mainly because researchers are functioning on new therapies all the time. To pace up the discovery of new and effective remedies, I persuade patients to participate in scientific trials.

It truly is also critical to know that ovarian cancer is not one particular illness, and the way doctors are dealing with it is getting to be far more individualized. For case in point, we are understanding how selected gene mutations and functions of different ovarian cancers make them respond in different ways to precise therapies. In the next 5 or 10 years, I imagine we will be developing therapies that concentrate on these precise molecular abnormalities, which we’ll be capable to detect working with diagnostic checks.