Exciting new research supported by a SU2C Innovative Research Grant (IRG) early-career researcher has found that a natural hormone in your body that kills your appetite might also be able to kill cancer.
The research determined that leptin — a natural hormone that lets the brain know when the body is full — can be used to mobilize immune system T cells against cancers like melanoma and pancreatic cancer.
While leptin can’t be given alone as treatment, researchers developed a bioengineered virus to produce and secrete leptin that can be used to treat cancer patients. In a one-two punch against cancer, the virus itself can kill cancer cells, and the leptin made by virus infected cells can reprogram and activate the metabolism of T cells in the immune system, enabling them to attack the cancer cells. You can read the scientific paper here.
Greg M. Delgoffe, PhD, a 2016 SU2C Innovative Research Grant (IRG) recipient, is focused on immunotherapy approaches to improve and combine the use of cancer-fighting viruses with a group of drugs called immune checkpoint inhibitors to achieve a more potent immune response. To date, SU2C has supported more than $150 million in researching immunotherapy to treat cancer across its entire portfolio.