Proteintech Announces Winners of AACR Travel Grants

Anantha Marisetty and Dhanya Nambiar for investigations into relationships between cancer and the immune system

Written by CG Life for Proteintech Group

CHICAGO—March 14, 2017 — Proteintech Group, a direct manufacturer of antibodies, is proud to announce that Anantha Marisetty and Dhanya Nambiar are the winners of its 2017 AACR Travel Grant Competition. Each researcher has been awarded $1,000 to use toward travel expenses to attend the 2017 AACR annual meeting, being held April 1-5 in Washington, D.C.

“As scientists, we are the stewards of science’s future,” said Proteintech CEO Jason Li. “We are thrilled to support the magnificent work these two researchers have undertaken early in their careers.”

The immune system acts as a shield not only against infections but also cancer. Cancer cells protect themselves from the immune system by producing proteins that reduce the activity and number of white blood cells. One such protein, Galectin-1 (Gal-1), can decrease the ability of white blood cells to fight head and neck cancers (HNC). Dhanya Nambiar, post-doctoral research fellow at Stanford University, is investigating Gal-1 in HNC as a therapeutic target in conjunction with other therapies.

Using CRISPR, Nambiar and her team developed models of HNC with and without Gal-1 proteins to study the immune response changes. The Stanford researchers found that tumors without the Gal-1 protein experienced decreased growth and allowed for higher lymphocyte counts, “which suggests that high Gal-1 may mediate poor-responsiveness or resistance to HNC therapies,” said Nambiar.

In a different kind of interaction between cancer and the immune system, tumor cells in glioblastoma – an aggressive, malignant adult brain tumor – reprogram immune cells to a tumor-supportive phenotype. Anantha Marisetty, post-doctoral fellow in Amy Heimberger's lab at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, is leading a team to counter this effect with therapies that modulate immune cells.

Marisetty’s group measured gene expression in the conscripted cells, primarily through Western blot and immunofluorescence or immunohistochemistry.

“We found that osteopontin is highly upregulated in tissue macrophages relative to their matched blood precursors,” said Marisetty. High levels of osteopontin expression predicts poor survival in glioblastoma, so she’s now exploring the use of microRNAs that target osteopontin to cut down its expression.  

“These early forays into new therapies will rewrite cancer treatment for future generations,” added Li. “We look forward with eagerness to seeing the science develop in the coming years.”



CG Life for Proteintech Group, Inc.

Troy Rummler, +1-312-997-2436