Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Massey Cancer Center

The Promise of Immunotherapy

Recently, the American Association for Cancer Research partnered with Time magazine, the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center and the Cancer Research Institute for a Twitter chat on “The Promise of Immunotherapy.” VCU Massey Cancer Center oncologists and researchers, John McCarty, M.D., and Andrew Poklepovic, M.D., provided expert commentary as the moderators posed a series of questions and discussion topics. 

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Whole exome sequencing shows potential to improve efficacy of stem cell transplants

Stem cell transplant donors and recipients are matched using a process known as human leucocyte antigen (HLA) testing, but graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), in which the donor's immune system attacks the recipient’s body, continues to pose a significant threat to transplant patients. Now, researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Massey Cancer Center have sequenced the DNA of a small group of stem cell transplant recipients and their donors and discovered significant variation in their exomes that may help explain why some HLA-matched stem cell transplant recipients still suffer from GVHD.  

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Massey researcher receives $2 million grant to improve melanoma treatment

VCU Massey Cancer Center researcher Jason Reed, Ph.D., has been awarded a roughly $2 million grant with a collaborator at the University of California, Los Angeles, to develop a new method to rapidly determine how a cancerous tumor responds to a battery of candidate therapies and then to pick the agents that are most effective for treating the patient’s particular disease.

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Immunotherapy: Unlocking New Ways to Fight Cancer

Learning of a cancer diagnosis has commonly brought with it not only fears for one’s health and one’s life, but the knowledge that the path to successful treatment was by no means easy or risk free. Most chemotherapy and radiation treatments come at a high expense to the patient’s body—harming healthy cells right along with malicious cancer cells and putting patients at risk for other cancers or even other disease or health problemsWhile in the best circumstances the end result is permanent elimination of cancer, in too many instances a few cancer cells survive and lead to relapse. Immunotherapy offers the potential to allow the body to kill the remaining resistant tumor cells.

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A bright future made possible

Former patient Aaron Kurz and family

This time of year, hundreds of area high school seniors don caps and gowns and look forward to life after high school. For Aaron Kurz, it’s an especially momentous occasion because it was one that his parents once feared he may never live to see.  

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