CIHR funding award announced for rare cancer study

Developing Clinical Tests for Better Outcomes with Immunotherapy for Patients with Mesothelioma

Congratulations to Dr. Tricia Cottrell, a CCTG Senior Investigator, has been awarded $872,86 to support the IND227 study from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Fall Project Competition.

Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma is rare and deadly form of cancer. Patients do not respond well to the current standard of care. However, there have been some positive results using immunotherapy.  Immunotherapy is a new way of treating cancer that “turns on” an individual’s anticancer immune response.

 “The biggest barrier to new therapies in Mesothelioma is not having a meaningful way to identify specific subsets of patients that may respond better to specific immunotherapy treatments,” says Dr. Cottrell. “As a pathologist and immunologist, I study immune responses in human tumour tissues at the microscopic level.”

The study will use digital image analysis software to create “cellular maps” of tumours from patients with mesothelioma to identify key cell types and molecules associated with response to immunotherapy. The research will lead to the development of clinical tests that will help doctors decide which immunotherapy drug is most likely to “turn on” a patient’s immune response to treat and, hopefully, cure their mesothelioma.

Dr. Tricia Cottrell
Dr. Tricia Cottrell

“The goal is to be able to group mesothelioma patients in a meaningful way and to help us figure out which therapy works best for each group,” concludes Dr. Cottrell. This research bridges a critical gap in converting exciting scientific discoveries into improvements in clinical care for patients. The urgency of this research is particularly acute for Dr. Cottrell, whose father was recently diagnosed with mesothelioma.

IND227 Co-Applicants

Lesley Seymour, Amber Simpson, Dongsheng Tu, James Taylor, Quincy Chu, Ming Tsao