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Aakanksha Rajiv Kapoor

Predoctoral Fellowship in Drug Discovery, 2023 Cornell University

Examining Ways to Improve Immunotherapy for Lung Cancer


Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Immunotherapy, a treatment that activates a patient’s immune system to kill cancer cells, has significantly improved outcomes for lung cancer patients, but it only works for about 20% of patients. The treatment fails when immune cells known as myeloid suppressor cells inhibit the function of T cells, which are important for fighting tumors. Hence, it is crucial to develop strategies that target myeloid suppressor cells. My research investigates how proteins produced by club cells, which line the airways in the lungs, can prevent myeloid suppressor cells from blocking the immune response needed to fight cancer. By understanding the mechanisms behind this process, we hope to uncover valuable insights that could enhance the efficacy of immunotherapy in lung cancer treatment. Ultimately, this research could contribute to the development of more effective and targeted treatments for lung cancer patients.

Learn more in this Q&A with Kapoor.

I am honored to receive the PhRMA Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship in Drug Discovery. This award will not only support my work, allowing me to generate key insights and novel therapies targeting lung cancer progression, but has also built confidence in my abilities to be a successful young scientist.

Aakanksha Rajiv Kapoor