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Global Symposium hears Dr. Prendergast discuss LIMR’s IDO inhibitors as new cancer immunotherapies

Lankenau Medical Center May 17, 2017 Research News

George Prendergast, PhD, president and CEO of the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research (LIMR), gave a talk at the symposium on Translational Immunology – From Target to Therapy IV, held at the University Hospital of Wurzburg, Germany, on Friday, May 5 where he outlined several recent discoveries and developments related to IDO inhibitors for cancer therapy.

Researchers, including those at LIMR, uncovered in recent years that the enzyme indoleamine 2,3 dioxygenase (IDO1) drives about half of all human cancers by shielding the growing tumor from the body’s natural immune attackers. Dr. Prendergast and his team began searching more than 10 years ago for drug-like compounds that would suppress the IDO1 enzyme as a strategy to restore the immune system’s attack of cancer cells.

“Our work led to the discovery of the first IDO1 inhibitors and the demonstration in preclinical studies of their ability to greatly empower the efficacy of many types of cancer therapy,” said Dr. Prendergast. “Our studies also showed how animals lacking the IDO1 gene were resistant to the development and progression of induced cancers.”

Building upon this foundation, several companies are now testing these and other IDO1-inhibitory drugs in cancer clinical trials to determine their effectiveness in treating melanomas, lung, breast and other cancers, and early results are promising, said Dr. Prendergast.

The Wurzburg site has special meaning for Lankenau: The University Hospital of Wurzburg was where the first X-ray machine was developed, and it was through connections to the scientists and physicians there that the German Hospital of the City of Philadelphia—now known as Lankenau Medical Center—was able to introduce the first X-ray machine in Philadelphia in 1896.

About Main Line Health

Founded in 1985, Main Line Health is a not-for-profit health system serving portions of Philadelphia and its western suburbs. Main Line Health’s commitment—to deliver advanced medicine to treat and cure disease while also playing an important role in prevention and disease management as well as training physicians and other health care providers—reflects our intent to keep our community and ourselves well ahead. A team of more than 10,000 employees and 2,000 physicians care for patients throughout the Main Line Health system.

At Main Line Health’s core are four of the region’s most respected acute care hospitals—Lankenau Medical Center, Bryn Mawr Hospital, Paoli Hospital and Riddle Hospital—as well as one of the nation’s recognized facilities for rehabilitative medicine, Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation Hospital.

The Main Line Health system also includes Mirmont Treatment Center for drug and alcohol recovery; Main Line Health HomeCare & Hospice, which includes skilled home health care, hospice and home infusion services; Main Line Health Centers, primary and specialty care, lab and radiology, and other outpatient services located in Broomall, Collegeville, Concordville, Exton and Newtown Square; Lankenau Institute for Medical Research, a biomedical research organization; and Main Line HealthCare, one of the region’s largest multispecialty physician networks.

Main Line Health is the recipient of numerous awards for quality care and service, including System Magnet® designation, the nation’s highest distinction for nursing excellence, the Mid-Atlantic Alliance for Performance Excellence (MAAPE) Excellence Award, and recognition as among the nation’s best employers by Forbes magazine. Main Line Health is committed to creating an environment of diversity, respect and inclusion and has proudly embraced the American Hospital Association’s #123forEquity Pledge to Act to eliminate disparities in care. We are dedicated to advancing patient-centered care, education and research to help our community stay healthy.

About Lankenau Institute for Medical Research

Lankenau Institute for Medical Research (LIMR) is a nonprofit biomedical research institute located on the campus of Lankenau Medical Center and is part of Main Line Health. Founded in 1927, LIMR’s mission is to improve human health and well-being. Faculty and staff are devoted to advancing innovative new approaches to formidable medical challenges, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal disorders and autoimmune diseases, such as diabetes and arthritis. LIMR’s principal investigators conduct basic, preclinical and translational research, using their findings to explore ways to improve disease detection, diagnosis, treatment and prevention. They are committed to extending the boundaries of human health through technology transfer and training of the next generation of scientists and physicians.


Bridget Therriault
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