Dr. Alex Huang – Basic Science Research Grant
Case Western Reserve University
Dr. Alex Huang’s research advancements in the area of Osteosarcoma offers improved treatment for a vulnerable population of cancer fighters. Osteosarcoma (OS) is the most common malignant primary bone cancer in the pediatric and adolescent population. Approximately 20% of these patients present with pulmonary metastasis at the time of diagnosis while a substantial number of patients develop lung metastasis after initiation of therapy. Lung OS metastasis responds poorly to conventional chemotherapy, accounting for most of the mortality related to OS. This research program aims to mitigate this clinical challenge by understanding how macrophages, a subtype of immune cells, support OS growth in lung tissues through integrin interaction with tumor-associated adhesion molecules, and by defining IND-enabling pre-clinical experimentation to eventually employ FDA-approved anti-a4 antibody as an effective therapeutic approach to ameliorate pulmonary OS metastasis. Success in this effort will provide a foundation for exploiting VCAM-1 / a4 integrin signaling as a concept for immunotherapy approaches against an otherwise deadly disease which has no alternative therapeutic options.