Ping-Chih Ho is one of two scientists rewarded by the Swiss Bridge Awards which this year focusses on research into characteristic cancer features which can predict treatment success of immunotherapies.
Immunotherapies show enormous promise and yet are cause for frustration as medical science does not yet know in advance for which patients the therapies will work.
The Swiss Bridge Foundation this year invited researchers under the age of 45 to close this knowledge gap and Pr Ping-Chih Ho's projet, on cold and hot tumours, was selected from 111 European submissions.
"Immunologically cold and hot tumors"
Ping-Chih Ho’s team is interested in the difference between tumors referred to as cold and hot tumors. While immunotherapies usually work well on hot tumors, they fail to work on cold tumors, because the cold tumor’s surrounding environment apparently prevents immune cells from migrating into the tumor tissue and exerting their effect there. Recently, Pr Ho and his team discovered a gene that is only active in hot tumors. In mice, the researchers even managed to activate the gene in cold tumors - and thus make the tumor environment accessible again to cancer-fighting immune cells. Research will now continue into discovering if the gene plays such a similar crucial role in humans - and on working towards developping a test to predict the answer to successful immunotherapy.
Rodrigo de Almeida Toledo, from the Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology in Barcelona is the fellow recipient of the 2018 Swiss Bridge Award.
(Drawn from Swiss Bridge Award media release 24/10/18, photo (c) deviantart s.s.)