Dr. Allison on Reverse Translation in Cancer Research

Partner | Cancer Centers | <b>MD Anderson</b>

James P. Allison, PhD, discusses his research on reverse translation in cancer. 

James P. Allison, PhD, chair, Immunology, executive director, Immunotherapy Platform, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and a recipient of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, discusses his research on reverse translation in cancer. 

Reverse translation, which is largely clinical trial–based, involves collecting specimens from patients on trials and observing the mechanisms for insight into new combination therapies, according to Allison. Previous research has demonstrated the components of a good signal, including T cells, myeloid cells, and fibroblasts, and this research aims to dissect that further, Allison adds. 

Once the critical observations have been made with the samples in the laboratory, mouse experiments are used to test hypotheses before the process is repeated with an iteration of change, Allison continues. Progress has been made with this method, particularly in genitourinary cancers, Allison says. This strategy is also being examined in pancreatic cancer and glioblastoma multiforme with the goal of making therapies work better, Allison concludes.