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Convergence Teams

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For “out there” questions that require a team with diverse expertise to answer.

CONVERGENCE MISSION

Convergence Grants bring together quantitative scientists and oncologists in integrated projects focused on cancer biology. The awards seek to accelerate cancer research and treatment for patients by bringing together scientists from diverse yet complementary disciplines (such as nanotechnology or new materials science). The teams are investigating fundamental questions about cancer biology that can be rapidly applied to combination therapies.

CONVERGENCE 2.0

Each Convergence 2.0 team will have the opportunity to work collaboratively with Microsoft machine-learning experts to discover key aspects of the interaction between cancer and the immune system, insights that can lead to the development of new treatments.

SU2C–Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Convergence Research Team: Computational Deconstruction of Neoantigen-TCR Degeneracy for Cancer Immunotherapy

The SU2C–Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Convergence Research Team is investigating why a small group of pancreatic cancer patients survive for many years after diagnosis, and developing tools to devise new cancer vaccines that will turn all pancreatic cancer patients into long-term survivors.

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SU2C Single-Cell Multi-omics Convergence Research Team: Single-Cell Functional Multi-omics to Characterize and Monitor CAR T Therapy

This SU2C Single-Cell Multi-omics Convergence Research Team aims to identify biomarkers that will predict the efficacy and potential side effects of CAR T therapy in individual patients. The team is developing computational models combining topological analysis—looking at multiple data sets across many fields—and machine learning to better understand the causes of therapeutic efficacy and toxicity.

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SU2C Natural Killer Cells Convergence Research Team: Integrating Experimental and Computational Pipelines to Develop Biomarkers of Tumor Cell Resistance to NK Cells

This SU2C Natural Killer Cells Convergence Research Team is conducting an in-depth study of natural killer (NK) cells and their anticancer properties using a CRISPR screen, sophisticated bioinformatics, and high-tech culture techniques. The team is engaging computational teams with follow-up in a clinical setting to model bone marrow living tissue scaffolds with humanized stromal tissue.

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SU2C Cancer Susceptibility Convergence Research Team: Correlating Immunological Health to Cancer Susceptibility

Scientists across many disciplines are working to understand how the immune system affects, mediates, or even controls cancer growth in different parts of the body. This SU2C Cancer Susceptibility Convergence Research Team is using blood cells and other markers to intensively monitor the immune system over time in participants in three scientific research cohorts: an aging cohort, a twin cohort, and a cohort with inherited immunodeficiency. The results will be used to determine signatures of poor immune health that might predispose an individual to cancer. If successful, the findings will be a significant advance in medicine’s ability to understand what parts of the immune system are important in the prevention of cancer.

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SU2C Gynecologic Cancers Convergence Research Team: Connecting Immune Health and Tumor Biology in Gynecologic Cancers

The SU2C Gynecologic Cancers Convergence Research Team studies immune defects in gynecologic cancer patients with highly mutated tumors to gain insights into immune responsiveness. The scientists are working to predict therapeutic outcomes and tailor treatment regimens for this subset of gynecologic cancers.

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SU2C Endometrial Cancers Convergence Research Team: Responders and Nonresponders to Endometrial Cancers With Mismatch Repair Deficiencies

This SU2C Endometrial Cancers Convergence Research Team is investigating why only half of all endometrial cancer patients with mismatch repair deficiencies respond to immunotherapy. The team is using patient biopsies from an ongoing clinical trial to figure out how to predict response and side effects and potentially design better immunotherapies for endometrial cancer patients. Mismatch repair deficiencies have been implicated in a wide variety of cancers, including some colorectal, stomach, small intestine, cervix, prostate, bile duct, and liver cancers, neuroendocrine tumors, and uterine sarcomas and ovarian cancers.

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SU2C Machine Learning for Immunotherapy Convergence Research Team: Machine Learning for Cancer Immunotherapy

The SU2C Machine Learning for Immunotherapy Convergence Research Team is using artificial intelligence to predict molecular pathways and clinical outcomes for cancer patients. These data scientists are working to reconstruct signaling pathways and identify previously unrecognized regulatory mechanisms that contribute to the development of cancer, and their discoveries may provide new approaches for treatment with immunotherapy.

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CONVERGENCE 1.0

These four teams of biologists, cancer experts, physicists, and engineers are each taking a different approach in studying how cancer interacts with the body and evolves as it is treated. This course of investigation could dramatically change how we approach the development of new cancer treatments.

SU2C–National Science Foundation Drug Combinations Convergence Research Team: Rational Design of Anticancer Drug Combinations with Dynamic Multi-Dimensional Input

This SU2C–National Science Foundation (NSF) Drug Combinations Convergence Research Team is focused on understanding cancer mutations that can be key to developing therapeutic responses. Normal cells have mechanisms for determining whether they will divide or not and whether they will die or not, and these mechanisms depend on the interaction of many different proteins. In cancer cells, however, the communications pathways among some of these proteins are distorted. This research project engages five biological and computational laboratories to identify how cancer cells distort this communication and how we can use combinations of drugs to help restore proper function.

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SU2C–National Science Foundation–Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Convergence Research Team: Liberating T-Cell Mediated Immunity to Pancreatic Cancer

The SU2C–National Science Foundation (NSF)–Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Convergence Research Team is a group of physicians, cancer immunologists, computational biologists, and biophysicists. They are working to better understand the immunologic microenvironment of pancreatic cancer, develop technologies to take advantage of cancer cell vulnerabilities, and form a multi-institution consortium to accelerate implementation of new strategies that could change the course of this deadly disease.

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SU2C–National Science Foundation Lung Cancer Convergence Research Team: Genetic, Epigenetic, and Immunological Underpinnings of Cancer Evolution Through Treatment

The SU2C–National Science Foundation (NSF) Lung Cancer Convergence Research Team focuses on non-small cell lung cancer and on acute myeloid leukemia, where despite initial beneficial responses to treatment, resistance to further treatment is all too common. Mathematical modeling approaches are being used to understand the evolution of drug resistance and to develop novel therapeutic strategies aimed at keeping the cancers from adapting to treatments.

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SU2C–Breast Cancer Research Foundation Breast Cancer Convergence Research Team: Ecology of the Tumor Microenvironment in Breast Cancer

The goal of the SU2C–Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) Breast Cancer Convergence Research Team is to study the different cell populations surrounding human breast tumors to understand their interactions as an ecosystem (also called the tumor microenvironment). The project is highly multidisciplinary, with participation from experts in breast cancer, immunology, genomics, bioinformatics, mathematical modeling, ecology, and drug delivery. Together, they hope to use the knowledge they gain to develop novel treatments to destabilize this ecosystem, potentially making it possible to more effectively treat the cancer.

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Stand Up To cancer strongly encourages novel, collaborative, and high-impact proposals. Proposals submitted in response to Calls for Ideas (CFIs) or Requests for Proposals (RFPs) are rigorously reviewed, and the most promising, exciting projects are selected by panels of expert investigators.

CLINICAL TRIALS

SU2C’s collaborative Convergence teams pool their expertise to make research work for the patient. Join a clinical trial to work with today’s top experts.

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