Every cancer starts with a single cell that has the ability to evade the immune system’s surveillance. Continuous excessive growth of the cell results in tumor generation and progression. Cancer doesn’t happen because of the immune system’s inability to fight. It happens because of the cancer cells’ ability to stay invisible to the immune system or suppress its fighting functions in the tumor micro environment. Hypothetically, a cure can be accomplished if the patient’s immune system is taught to effectively identify and kill the elusive cancer cells that evade or repel the immune cells. As a general concept “immunotherapy” governs different strategies and treatment modalities to accomplish this feat.

In our cancer research we focus on cancer biology, basic immunology, cancer immunology, cancer’s immune-evasion mechanisms and host immune defense systems to try to leverage the latest developments and the information collected in fundamental science research to create innovative modalities for the treatment of cancer. This includes developing targeted and cell-mediated immunotherapy including vaccines, oncolytic viruses, and modalities especially using cancer-targeted immune system cells, and other personalized tumor-targeted approaches for the treatment of patients with cancer at the risk of disease recurrence or at a stage known to be resistant to conventional treatments.

Our cancer-related research programs include the areas of gene-modified cell therapies in hematological and solid tumor cancers, personalized cancer vaccines, host cellular and molecular defense systems, cancer-specific immunogenicity and the mechanisms of activation, inhibition, and cross-communication of innate and adaptive immune system in cancer.

CNS Malignancies

Most common primary central nervous system (CNS) malignancies a gliomas.  A primary CNS tumor is often described with its grade: as low grade or high grade. A low-grade tumor is a slow-growing tumor, however, it can turn into a high-grade tumor in time. A high-grade tumor is usually a fast-growing tumor. CNS tumors are usually particularly challenging because most of the time their location or their structure makes them impossible to remove surgically.

We focus on new strategies to reprogram the immune system to try to overcome the cancer’s immune evasive or immune-regulatory mechanisms in the nervous system. We also study the potential immunotherapy (graft-versus-tumor effect) properties of allogeneic bone marrow transplant and gene-modified autologous bone marrow transplant in carefully designed pre-clinical experiments to explore the clinical potential of bone marrow transplants in CNS malignancies.

Solid Tumor Cancers

Our research in solid tumor cancers is driven by several scientific goals:

  • To define and understand the molecular mechanisms behind the immune-evasion properties of the solid tumor micro environment
  • To understand the mechanisms of inhibition of the host cellular immune response in cancer
  • To elucidate the cellular and molecular alterations that initiate tumor generation and support cancer cell proliferation and persistence
  • To improve on the existing therapeutic regimens and ongoing translational and clinical research from our basic science discoveries
  • To accelerate the translational science and help individuals have access to new and innovative clinical modalities faster

Our solid tumor cancer research mainly focuses on the cancer-specific immunogenic effects of adoptive cell therapies and cell-based cancer vaccines.

Hematological Malignancies

Hematologic cancers are the cancers that occur in the immune system cells or in blood-forming organs like bone marrow and lymph nodes. Seraph Research focuses on harnessing the knowledge, experience and efficacy of the existing standard treatment models like stem cell transplantation combined with novel methods like gene therapies to transform the existing standard of care to a more evolved, less toxic version of itself.

Our team collaborates in research with leading international experts in the field to bring pioneering discoveries into hematological malignancies and new and improved stem cell transplant methods to early-phase clinical stage to potentially change the standard of care of cancer for the coming generations.