Clinic business

Cleveland Clinic researcher receives $5.2 million grant

Justin Lathia, vice chair of the Department of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Sciences at the Cleveland Clinic, has received an eight-year, $5.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to further research into the dynamics of immune suppression in malignant brain tumors and target future immune diseases. -activation of therapies, according to a press release.

Lathia is one of nine recipients in the United States this year to receive the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) Research Program Award, which provides recipients with up to eight years of funding, research environments flexibility and the freedom to pursue long-term breakthrough projects or research, according to the statement. NINDS is part of the National Institutes of Health.

“The nature of our work has been translational – involving the evaluation of human tumors to create hypotheses to be tested using models – then validation in human samples, ultimately leading to early phase clinical trials,” said said Lathia — also co-director of the Center of Excellence in Brain Tumor Research and Therapeutic Development and the Melvin H. Burkhardt Endowed Chair in Neuro-Oncology at the Cleveland Clinic — in a provided statement. “This type of work requires a unique team approach and leverages the collaborative strengths we have at Cleveland Clinic.”

The grant will support Lathia and her team as they continue to explore the role of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) in suppressing anti-tumor immunity, according to the release, which notes that they plan to use glioblastoma as a model for neurological disorders.

“Glioblastoma has one of the most aggressive disease trajectories of any cancer,” Lathia said in the release. “Recurrence is quite common, largely due to major alterations in the immune system.”

The team plans to use glioblastoma as a model to identify the cellular and molecular mechanisms that control the formation of MDSCs and how they respond to microenvironmental cues, according to the release. Lathia’s research aims to evaluate the preclinical targeting of MDSCs in combination with immune activation therapies.

“As we try to harness the immune system for cancer therapies, it’s critical that we understand what underlies the immune response in tumors,” he said. “Ultimately, this will guide more effective therapies for patients with the disease.”