Focused ultrasound cancer immunotherapy

Reliza McGinnis

My research interests are in the cellular mechanisms behind how histotripsy ablation leads to target-specific immune responses following treatment as well as exploring ways to increase this response for eventual translation to a clinical setting. To explore topic, there are 3 main questions that I plan on focusing on. 1) What are the mechanisms of observed cell death and antigen presentation in treated tumors as well as secondary abscopal tumors following histotripsy ablation therapy. 2) How can varying various acoustic parameters affect the immunostimulation, and what parameters can improve animal survival. 3) Can histotripsy be used to enhance immunotherapy through use of combination therapy and/or immune stimulatory adjuvants. 

Below is a figure showing that that within 1 day of treatment. Non-ablated tumor cells at the border of the histotripsy lesion (left of ) in B16F10 tumors show heightened presence of pMLKL and pRIPK3, which are two proteins that are part of the ferroptosis cell death pathway. Ferroptosis is known to be highly immunogenic hallmarked by inducing inflammation to the area.