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Brant Inman, MD, and Smita Nair, PhD, to Test Novel Immunotherapy for Prostate Cancer

Wednesday, March 2, 2016
By Duke Surgery
Brant Inman, MD, and Smita Nair, PhD

Brant Inman, MD, Division of Urology, and Smita Nair, PhD, Division of Surgical Sciences, have received funding to evaluate a novel immunotherapy for reversing treatment resistance in patients with prostate cancer.

Thanks to a grant from the Department of Defense, the research team will study the role of an important immune checkpoint molecule, B7-H3, in prostate cancer. Increased levels of B7-H3 are associated with resistance to treatment, tumor recurrence, and mortality. The team will determine whether targeting B7-H3 via a novel immunotherapy may improve treatment sensitivity in patients with prostate cancer.

The team will first confirm the relationship between B7-H3 expression and treatment resistance by assessing B7-H3 levels in men with prostate cancer following standard therapy, including androgen-targeted therapy, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy. Next, they will determine whether standard therapy affects levels of soluble B7-H3 (sB7-H3), a bioactive form of B7-H3 associated with worse outcomes in patients. At the same time, they will determine whether sB7-H3 affects treatment responses and disease severity. Finally, the team will determine whether B7-H3 targeting alone or in combination with standard therapy is effective against prostate cancer using four different mouse models.  

The goals of the study are to determine whether B7-H3 affects resistance to treatment, whether this molecule may serve as a biomarker to predict treatment responses, and whether the novel B7-H3–targeting therapy is effective against prostate cancer.

Dr. Inman and Dr. Nair would like to acknowledge their collaborators on this study, including Daniel George, MD, Division of Urology; Kent Weinhold, PhD, Division of Surgical Sciences; Jiaoti Huang, MD, PhD, Department of Pathology; David Hsu, MD, Department of Medicine; and Steven R. Patierno, PhD, Department of Medicine, Duke Cancer Institute. In addition, they would both like to thank Lanika Starks, Melissa Trofi, Kristy Gajowiak, and Misty Woodward in the Grants and Contracts Office for their help in securing this funding.