Natascia Marino Presents Poster at AACR 2018 Annual Meeting

In April, BCRF Investigator in Breast Cancer Research Natascia Marino, PhD, attended the American Association of Cancer Researchers (AACR) annual meeting in Chicago. Dr. Marino, an Assistant Professor in the Hematology/Oncology Division at the Indiana University School of Medicine, works exclusively with KTB samples. The poster she presented this year describes the first findings of her main study: Investigation of molecular alterations occurring during early stage of cancer development.

Working with a precious cohort of KTB samples from women who had donated tissue then later developed breast cancer, Dr. Marino showed how normal breast tissue donated to the KTB by women not yet displaying any clinical sign of breast tumor looks histologically healthy. However, when compared with healthy controls (breast tissue donated by women who did not develop tumors within the same follow-up time), these tissues already contain modifications in terms of gene expression. Interestingly, the major changes involve a suppression of the immune system. Dr. Marino’s lab is currently investigating this new finding by working together with experts in cancer immunology, whom she met at the AACR meeting.

The AACR annual meeting presents the best cancer science and medicine from institutions all over the world, and Dr. Marino confesses that it can be overwhelming! The main themes of the conference were: cancer immunology, which studies the role of the immune system in the progression and development of cancer, and cancer immunotherapy, which studies how to attack cancer cells by potentiating (increasing the power of) the immune system. This year the conference talks described how immunotherapy has been successfully applied to treat lung cancer and melanoma.

Dr. Marino strongly feels that presenting a poster at this amazing conference is always a valuable learning and networking opportunity.