SU2C-SITC Convergence Scholar Award 2

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

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Team Leader

John Wherry, PhD – University of Pennsylvania

Team Members

Shelley Berger, PhD
Perelman School of Medicine University of Pennsylvania
Robert Burger, MD, FACOG, FACS
The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Erica Carpenter, MBA, PhD
Perelman School of Medicine University of Pennsylvania
Claire Friedman, MD
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Travis Hollman, MD, PhD
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Dana Pe’er, PhD
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Daniel Powell, PhD
University of Pennsylvania
Dmitriy Zamarin, MD, PhD
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center 


Benjamin Greenbaum, PhD
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Ernest Fraenkel, PhD
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
David Ting, MD
Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School

Project Summary

Mismatch repair (MMR)-deficiency, the inability to repair base pairing within the DNA helix, can give rise to a weakened DNA structure, which leads to the accumulation of mutations. The response to immune checkpoint inhibitors has been varied in gynecologic cancers, possibly due to the number of mutations carried by each tumor cell (mutational burden). The team hypothesizes that the tumors with a high mutational burden fail to respond to checkpoint inhibition because of an immune dysfunction that is based on the mechanism for the MMR deficiency. The team plans to initiate two clinical trials that will test whether a) tumor-intrinsic factors affect the response to checkpoint inhibition; b) baseline immune function and quality affects response to checkpoint inhibition; and c) on-treatment blood markers may reflect the tumor-immune interaction. Understanding the mechanism that leads to this phenomenon has the potential to dramatically affect those patients who do not respond to current treatments.

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Applications due: Sept. 28, 2018


Details vary by project and institution, but the following applies to each opportunity
  • Full-time, multi-year commitment
  • Salary commensurate with experience and applicable policies
  • Fellowship will take place at either the Team Lead's institution or a partner institution
  • Additional eligibility criteria are determined by the Team Leads and host institutions