Congratulations are in order for Madelyn Espinosa Cotton on receiving a F99/K00, NCI predoctoral to postdoctoral fellow transition award. The award was granted based on her dissertation research that focuses on the IL-1 pathway as an important player in tumor response to cetuximab in HNSCC patients. The overall hypothesis of her dissertation research is that IL-1 blockade will improve the anti-tumor efficacy of cetuximab in HNSCC.
For the remainder of her dissertation research project, she will continue to test her hypothesis using the FDA approved IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1RA) anakinra in combination with cetuximab in HNSCC mouse models, and assess potential mechanisms of tumor response to combination drug therapy. During her postdoctoral research period she will transition to combining anti-IL-1 therapy with anti-CTLA4/PD1 therapy for HNSCC following the current trend in cancer therapy including using HNSCC to activate the immune system using anti-CTLA4/PD1 therapies.