Florida Breast Cancer Foundation

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2009 - 2011 Research Grant Awards

University of Miami School of Medicine $100,000 per year for 3 years
Principal Investigator: Diana Lopez
Project Title: Immunotherapy and Antitumor Effects of a Secreted Form of MUC1
Proposed Timeline: 10/1/09 – 9/30/2012
The goal of this proposal is to use the tumor antigenic properties of mucin 1 (MUC1), a polymorphic type 1 transmembrane protein present in normal epithelium, lymphocytes, and dendritic cells, to develop both an immunotherapy and a diagnostic tool for breast cancer.  The hypothesis to be tested is that a secreted form of MUC1 (MUC1sec), and a unique 11 amino acid peptide derived from it, have immunoenhancing properties (IEPs). These properties are due to the down regulatory effects of tumor factors on negative regulatory cells, such as myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) and regulatory T cells (Tregs).

University of Miami School of Medicine $100,000 per year for 3 years
Principal Investigator: Eli Gilboa
Project Title: Potentiating Tumor Immunity Using Aptamer-Targeted Inhibition of TGF-Beta Signaling in Tumor-Specific T cells
Proposed Timeline: 10/1/09 – 9/30/2012
The PI of this proposal plans to conduct new research on potentiating tumor immunity using aptamer-targeted inhibition of transforming growth factor beta (TGFbeta) signaling in tumor-specific T cells. The hypothesis being tested will determine if small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) against TGFbetaRII can be directly targeted to activated T cells and make them resistant to TGFbeta present in the tumor microenvironment with the goal of establishing a reagent that can extinguish expression of the receptor for the TGFbeta1, abundant in the tumor microenvironment, and be targeted to activated T cells and tested for efficiency. The intention is to overcome tumor-induced inhibition of antitumor T cells that are induced by vaccination.