By Chih-Chien Chou, PhD, postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
At ASTRO’s 2018 Research Workshop focusing on the tumor microenvironment, the keynote address will be given by Giorgio Trinchieri, MD, who is a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Distinguished Investigator and Director of the Cancer and Inflammation Program (CIP) in the Center for Cancer Research (CCR) of the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
Dr. Trinchieri received his M.D. from the Università di Torino in Italy in 1973. Before his position at NCI, he worked at the Basel Institute for Immunology in Switzerland; the Medical Genetics Institute at the Medical School of Turin; the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia; the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research in Épalinges, Switzerland; the Schering Plough Laboratory for Immunological Research in Dardilly, France; and the Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases in the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in Bethesda, Maryland.
Dr Trinchieri is among the most influential leaders in the field of cancer immunology. His research mainly focuses on the role of inflammation/innate resistance and commensal microbiota in carcinogenesis. He also studies the cellular and molecular mechanism of cancer progression via elucidating the role of cytokines (including IL-12 family, type I and II interferons, interleukin-10) in regulation of immune cells.
I recently asked Dr. Trinchieri some questions about his career path leading up to his keynote presentation at ASTRO’s 2018 Research Workshop
: Targeting the Tumor Microenvironment (TME) in Radiation Oncology on July 26-27.
What are your current research interests?
For many years, I have been interested in the interplay between inflammation/innate resistance and adaptive immunity, and in the role of pro-inflammatory cytokines and interferons in the regulation of haematopoiesis, innate resistance and immunity against infections and tumors. My laboratory’s focus is the role of inflammation, innate resistance, immunity and commensal microbiota in carcinogenesis, cancer progression and prevention or therapy of cancer.
What are the discoveries that have led up to your current work?
Recently, the discovery that the microbiota modulates the effectiveness of both chemotherapy and immunotherapy has reignited my interest in understanding how the microbiota affect carcinogenesis and cancer therapy.
How will your research findings eventually translate into clinical practice?
The experimental and clinical data on the role of the microbiota in cancer therapy suggest that one day we might be able to predict whether patients are likely or not to respond to therapies from their microbiota composition. If they are not likely to respond, possible modifications of the microbiota composition could be utilized therapeutically to improve the probability of a successful response. However, we still do not know what a favorable microbiota composition is, exactly, and our procedure to change the composition of the microbiota are still rudimental. We need to know much more, but the possibility of clinical translation of these results is quite high. Overall, we hope that in a not-so-distant future we will be able to modify the patients’ microbiota in order to increase patients’ response to treatment while decreasing treatment toxicities and co-morbidity.
What are your hopes for the future of cancer immunotherapy?
Although immunotherapy has been very successful, only a proportion of patients with certain tumors respond to it. In order to increase the proportion of responsive patients, it will be necessary to alter the immune profile of the tumor microenvironment. This could be attained by combining immunotherapies with other therapies, including radiation, and possibly by targeting the composition of the microbiota.
What do you plan to discuss during your keynote address at the TME workshop?
I will discuss the role of the microbiota in carcinogenesis and cancer therapy with some discussion on how these results also extend to radiation oncology.
To learn more about Dr. Trinchieri and his research, please join us at the 2018 Tumor Microenvironment Workshop in Washington, D.C., on July 26-27. Registration is open now
for the 2018 Research Workshop: Targeting the Tumor Microenvironment in Radiation Oncology. Be sure to register by June 27 to take advantage of the advance registration rates. Book your hotel
now also to receive the discounted rate at the Washington Hilton.