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overview Dr. Sean Pitroda investigates tumor mechanisms that restrict the potential curability of patients with limited metastatic disease following localized therapies, such as surgery or ablative radiotherapy. Dr. Pitroda's research utilizes integrative genome-wide molecular analyses of clinical metastases, molecular biology, CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing, animal models, immune analysis, and statistical modeling towards translational research goals. Recently, through analysis of independent clinical cohorts of colorectal cancer patients who underwent surgical resection of limited de novo liver metastases, he discovered a biological basis for curable metastasis (Pitroda SP et al, Nature Communications 2018). Specifically, patients with metastases exhibiting robust adaptive immune activation experienced a 10-year survival of ~95% following surgical resection. Building upon this finding, Dr. Pitroda's laboratory is characterizing tumor and host determinants of immune evasion. Studies employing prospectively collected patient tissue and blood specimens in parallel with tumor immunology murine models are expected to corroborate his hypotheses. In this way, his findings will shed light on strategies to augment antitumor immune function. Dr. Pitroda anticipates these findings will ultimately have important implications in the selection of local therapy for those patients with potentially curable metastatic disease from those whose few metastases are a part of a large cascade of widespread disease, thereby changing the paradigm for the treatment of metastatic cancers.

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  • Immune Evasion