UNC Lineberger experts available at AACR Annual Meeting 2018
Immunotherapy, breast cancer, obesity and pancreatic cancer experts available

Newswise — University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center experts are available to provide expert commentary and feedback on research presented at the AACR Annual Meeting 2018. Scientists and physicians will be available to speak about developments in CAR-T cell immunotherapy, breaking the obesity-cancer link, and new treatment strategies for pancreatic cancer. Can dieting help to reverse obesity-linked changes in the body that drive cancer? Why is aggressive breast cancer that has spread to the brain non-responsive to certain immunotherapies? They are seeking answers to these questions, and more.

If you’d like to speak with an expert, email laura_oleniacz@med.unc.edu or call (919-812-0621).

Jonathan Serody, MD, helped to lead the launch of the UNC Lineberger’s Cellular Immunotherapy Program, which has multiple CAR-T trials open, and several in the pipeline. Research is underway to develop a “safety switch” to de-activate CAR-T treatments in the case of severe patient side effects, and to target solid tumors such as glioblastoma. Serody is associate director for translational research at UNC Lineberger, and the Elizabeth Thomas Professor of Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology.

Benjamin Vincent, MD, is researching ways to identify patients who will respond to immune-based treatments for cancer, and to predict the abnormal markers, or neo-antigens, on the surface of tumors that could be used to select personalized immuotherapies. Vincent is a UNC Lineberger member and an assistant professor in the UNC School of Medicine Division of Hematology/Oncology.

Carey Anders, MD, is investigating new clinical strategies for patients with breast cancer that has spread to the brain. At the AACR Annual Meeting, she is presenting new research into why triple negative breast cancer, a particularly aggressive subtype, has not been responsive to checkpoint inhibitors. Anders is a UNC Lineberger member, director of medical oncology for the UNC Breast Center, and associate professor in the UNC School of Medicine Division of Hematology/Oncology. She is co-founder of the Brain Metastases Specialty Clinic.

Channing Der, PhD, is researching new ways to treat cancers driven by mutations in the KRAS gene, which was the first human cancer gene discovered, but has not been successfully targeted with selective, targeted treatments. His focus is on pancreatic cancer. One active area of investigation is into strategies to block pancreatic cancer metabolism, including autophagy, or “self-eating.” He is the Sarah Graham Kenan Distinguished Professor in the UNC School of Medicine Department of Pharmacology and a member of UNC Lineberger.

Stephen Hursting, PhD, MPH, is an expert on the obesity-cancer link, and the biological mechanism behind why obesity increases cancer risk. He’s working to find ways to reverse the obesity-driven changes within the body that are helping to drive cancer. Hursting is a professor of nutrition at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and UNC Nutrition Institute, a member of UNC Lineberger, and a member of the working group of the International Agency for Research on Cancer to examine obesity’s impact on the cancer burden. (Please note: Dr. Hursting will not be at the meeting but can be reached via telephone).

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