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Angel Porgador, PhD

Angel Porgador, PhD

Grant Status
Active

Institution
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Grant Type
Acceleration Grant

Project Title
A Novel Strategy for Predicting the Response to Immunotherapy

Tumor Types

Research Topics
Head and Neck Cancer, Immunology and Immunotherapy, Kidney Cancer, Lung Cancer


About the Investigator:

Dr. Angel Porgador is the Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Ben-Gurion University, a professor in the Dept. of Microbiology, Immunology and Genetics, and a member of the National Institute for Biotechnology in the Negev. His research focuses on innate immunity of health and disease, with an emphasis on cancer and viral infections. He previously served as Deputy Vice President and Dean for Research and Development. He holds a BA in basic medical sciences and computer science and mathematics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He completed his MA and PhD in Life Sciences at the Weizmann Institute of Science, and a postdoctoral fellowship in the USA at Duke University and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

About the Research:

Immune checkpoint blockers have extraordinary potential to treat cancer. They function by promoting the ability of the immune system to fight cancer, by inhibiting factors that would otherwise downregulate the immune response. Currently one of the most challenging obstacles in medical oncology is predicting the response of an individual patient to a checkpoint blocker and personalizing the treatment so that it is effective. The magnitude of this challenge will increase as new drugs are approved, and physicians must select the optimal treatment among multiple options. Thus, it is necessary to develop new approaches for matching these drugs to patients.

In recent years, Dr. Porgador has worked with the Elkabets laboratory to develop a new technology that measures the activity of proteins that are known to suppress the immune response to a tumor. The system is based on the interaction between tumor samples and an engineered cell line that “reports” on how administration of the checkpoint blocker affects immunosuppressive proteins present on the tumor sample from individual patients. This project aims to explore the utility of this new technology for predicting the response to checkpoint blockers in lung, kidney, and head and neck cancer. If successful, this technology should uncover new biomarkers that quantify the activity of proteins for guiding immunotherapy in oncology.

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