Jianzhu Chen

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Hemann & Chen Combine Forces against Resistant Tumors

KI faculty members Michael Hemann, the Eisen and Chang Career Development Associate Professor of Biology, and Jianzhu Chen, the Ivan R. Cottrell Professor of Immunology, have discovered a new treatment for drug-resistant tumors using a combination of existing drugs. In a study published in Cell, the KI team showed that the simultaneous administration of an antibody drug called alemtuzumab (which is FDA-approved for some cancers and in clinical trials for some forms of lymphoma) and cyclophosphamide (a drug that is often given to cancer patients) makes tumor cells more vulnerable to the antibody treatment. Cyclophosphamide stimulates the immune response in bone marrow, eliminating the reservoir of cancer cells that can produce new tumors after treatment and avoiding tumor recurrence. The researchers also reported good results by combining cyclophosphamide with rituximab, another antibody drug used to treat lymphoma and leukemia. They now plan to test cyclophosphamide with other types of antibody drugs for breast and prostate tumors. This research was funded by the MIT Ludwig Center for Molecular Oncology, the Koch Institute Frontier Research Program through the Kathy and Curt Marble Cancer Research Fund, the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology, the German Research Foundation, and the National Cancer Institute. First author and former KI postdoc Christian Pallasch plans to begin testing the alemtuzumab-cyclophosphamide treatment in lymphoma patients. more...

Prostate cancers can escape immunity

KI researchers describe potent immuno-suppressive activity of prostate cancer microenvironment. more...