Home Research funding K-State research team aims to improve immunotherapy treatment for cancer patients

K-State research team aims to improve immunotherapy treatment for cancer patients


Immunotherapy can take advantage of the body’s immune system to fight cancer. While excellent responses were seen for some patients, a considerably larger number received little benefit.

A team from Kansas State University, led by Punit Prakash, associate professor in Mike Wiegers’ department of electrical and computer engineering, was funded by the National Science Foundation to conduct research on monitoring the immune status of a tumor cancerous in order to evaluate immunotherapy interventions that lead more tumors to a favorable state.

“As the team works to develop this experimental platform for closed-loop monitoring and modulation of tumor immune states, the results may ultimately contribute to the improvement of cancer immunotherapy treatment,” said Prakash, Paul L. Spainhour Chair in Electrical Engineering. and researcher Michelle Munson-Serban Simu Keystone.

The co-principal investigators of the three-year $ 750,000 project, “A CPS Approach to Tumor Immunomodulation; detection, analysis and control of primary tumors by immunotherapy ”, are Jungkwun Kim, assistant professor and researcher Michelle Munson-Serban Simu Keystone; and Bala Natarajan, Clair N. Palmer Professor and Chair of Electrical Engineering and Sara M. Palmer and Steve Hsu Keystone Researcher, both in Electrical and Computer Engineering at K-State.

With additional funding of $ 500,000 through the NSF Cyber-Physical Systems Program, Rahul Sheth, physician and associate professor in the Department of Interventional Radiology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, will collaborate on the project.

While immunotherapy has revolutionized the landscape of cancer care over the past decade, many barriers to immunotherapies hinder their effectiveness in the majority of cancer patients. The team’s research with this funding will seek to both uncover resistance mechanisms and rationally provide targeted therapies to overcome these obstacles.

By modeling the tumor as a ‘cyber-physical system in the body’, our project will explore the development of a micro-needle platform that includes an array of sensors to measure the biophysical parameters of the tumor microenvironment. “

Jungkwun Kim, Assistant Professor

The measurements from the sensors will lead to new model-based machine learning techniques and will allow estimation of the tumor immune status, ”said Natarajan,“ which will then guide the implementation of interventions through the same platform. micro-needle shape ”.

The interdisciplinary project is aligned with the goals of K-State 2025 and the Carl R. Ice College of Engineering to advance research, scholarly and creative endeavors, and discoveries that benefit society as a whole.


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