Ofer Reizes, PhD

Robert DeBernardo, MD


Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute

Ovarian Cancer

Pilot Grant

Complementing Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy Efficacy with Immunotherapy in Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is a leading cause of cancer death. Patients are often diagnosed at advanced stage when the disease has spread throughout the abdomen. As a result of the late stage at diagnosis, the treatment options are limited, with surgery and chemotherapy being the primary treatment strategy. Most patients show response that declines in less than 2 years leading to patient overall survival of less than 5 years. In recent years, a new therapeutic approach has shown promise by addition of heat plus chemotherapy after removal of most of the tumor. Overall survival of these patients is significantly better than conventional approaches. Despite the improved survival how heat plus chemotherapy works remains unclear. Our studies focus on understanding how heat plus chemotherapy works and how to use this knowledge to improve the efficacy of this surgical and chemotherapeutic approach. In previous studies supported by VeloSano we found that the tumor cells that respond to heat plus chemotherapy as select immune cells involved in tumor cell killing. To investigate the role of the immune cells, we established a novel model of heat and cisplatin in a mouse model of ovarian cancer. We found that heat plus chemotherapy requires the immune system. We determined the early phase of response to heat and chemotherapy is driven by killer immune cells. With time suppressor immune cells begin to increase leading to the proposal that inhibiting the suppressor immune cells will provide therapeutic benefit. We propose to identify immune killer cells and the suppressor immune cells. With the insights of the immune cells, we will determine whether inhibiting the suppressor immune cells with immune checkpoint inhibitors and improve the benefit of heat and chemotherapy. The studies have direct patient impact as our studies will support clinical trials to improve the efficacy of heat plus chemotherapy.

Make a difference today.