Research Highlight August 10, 2015

Karolina Palucka receives grant to study immune response to melanoma

Professor Karolina Palucka, M.D., in collaboration with Richard Flavell, Ph.D., of Yale University, received an RO1 grant award for “Humanized mouse models to dissect in vivo the interplay between melanoma and the immune system. The three-year grant totals a little over $1.3M in funding.

Melanoma is a deadly cancer, but there are a lack of experimental systems, including mouse strains, that effectively model the disease or the human immune response to it. Palucka and Flavell have preliminary findings showing a humanized mouse strain they developed is a valuable model for studying immune-mediated mechanisms of tumorigenesis. The strain, MISTRG, is transplanted with human immune cells and genes encoding cytokines important for immune cell development. The grant will support work to further investigate and validate the humanized MISTRG model, so that it can get be utilized to gain biological insight for human melanoma and identify candidate therapeutic targets.