Andy G. S. Daniel, PhD
Harnessing TumorNeuron Interactions to Identify Treatment Targets
Gliomas are cancerous brain tumors with dismal prognoses despite the best available treatments. Therapeutic development is extremely challenging due to tumor heterogeneity, the blood-brain barrier (a network of cells that protects the brain from harmful substances), and the tumor immune microenvironment (the cells, molecules, and blood vessels that surround tumor cells). To add to this complexity, recent studies have shown that glioma cells can communicate with neurons through direct and indirect connections and that these interactions promote cancer progression and spread. At present, the effects of these interactions on the tumor immune microenvironment are poorly understood. Using primary patient-derived glioma cells, in vitro co-culture models, and mouse models, my research aims to elucidate the mechanisms through which glioma-neuron interactions are influenced by neuroimmune factors. A deeper understanding of these relationships may identify novel treatment targets and support the development of desperately needed immunotherapies for glioma.
With the PhRMA Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, I can perform studies that blur the lines between scientific disciplines. By combining basic and translational approaches, my research aims to uncover glioma-neuron mechanisms that may be targeted by new therapies to ultimately improve patient care.