Samita S. Andreansky, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Description of Research
Cancer causes profound immunesuppression in the host thereby damaging their ability to control the tumor. Dr. Andreansky is specifically interested in understanding how tumor the microenvironment drives negative immune regulators and impacts adaptive immune responses. She studies Her-2/neu positive breast cancer as her model as it has been shown that overexpression of oncogenic Her-2/neu can be correlated to poor prognosis and recurrence after initial therapy. Accumulating evidence in breast cancer patients indicates that the quality and quantity of tumor infiltrating T cells during therapy can predict success in tumor regression. Thus the objective of Dr. Andreansky's laboratory is to understand these mechanisms and develop therapies that directly promotes cancer survival. The working model is that ‘oncogene addiction’ can drive immunosuppression via upregulation of inflammatory mediators that blocks infiltration of tumor specific T cells. Combination therapies with small molecule drugs isolated from natural compounds and/or novel agents such as oncolytic viruses that express cytokine genes are being explored in pre-clinical models.
- Discovered that a steroidal lactone derived from the medicinal plant Withania somnifera induces antitumor immunity through stress response pathways that targets innate immune cells
- Demonstrated that herpes simplex oncolytic virus expressing interleukin 10 induces cancer regression and long-term immunity