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  • Vishnupriyan Kumar

Supervisor:

Dr. Shashi Gujar

Program of Study:

MSc, Pathology

Project Title:

HLA ligandomics of Pulmonary-Only metastatic Prostate Cancer (PO-mPCa): Implications for precision medicine

Research Summary:

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in Canadian men, with approximately one third of new cases being reported in a locally advanced or metastatic form. Prostate cancer is a highly heterogeneous disease and is often managed with 'one-size-fits-all' type of inefficient therapeutic options. This relative lack of effective clinical options, coupled with high incidence and mortality rate, remains the drive for developing novel or more precise therapies for this disease. Recently, a unique subtype of prostate cancer, which spreads from prostate to lungs without involving other organs, has been discovered. Interestingly, patients with this pulmonary-only metastatic prostate cancer (or PO-mPCa for short) respond very well to standard treatments and also live remarkably longer than those with other types of prostate cancer. Thus, understanding the unique features of PO-mPCa promises to promote better survival in other subtypes of prostate cancer. PO-mPCa bears mutational signatures that make them good candidates for immunological attack via our immune cells called T-cells. Here, antitumor T-cells kill cancers by identifying small fragments from tumors (known as MHC ligands). Thus, patients with T-cells that can recognize cancer-specific MHC ligands, will respond better. We hypothesize that PO-mPCa holds unique MHC ligands that generates functional antitumor T-cell attack. If identified and characterized, these PO-mPCa MHC ligands hold the key to improve survival of patients with both PO-mPCa and other subtypes of prostate cancer. Ultimately, we hope our findings will inform the development of better treatment options for prostate cancer.

Scholarships and/or Awards:

  • Cancer Research Training Program (CRTP) Traineeship Award 2021

Career Aspirations:

I aim to study why certain cancers respond better to treatments than others. This understanding will help in developing novel and effective cancer-vaccine immunotherapy strategies. I have a background in biotechnology with training in translational tumor immunology. Fascinated by the potential of training one’s own immune system to fight cancers, I am widening my toolkit to include oncolytic virotherapy and systems immunology techniques.  I intend to continue tackling clinically relevant challenges for precision medicine applications.

Location:

Dalhousie University

Publications:

Dhar, Sujan K., Vishnupriyan, K., Damodar, S., Gujar, S., and Das, M. (2020). IL-6 and IL-10 as predictors of disease severity in COVID 19 patients: Results from Meta-analysis and Regression. medRxiv. https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.08.15.20175844

Sreejeta M., Nehanjali D., Smitha P.K., Sowmya T., Kartik S., Christopher B., Vishnupriyan K., Nataraj K.S., Sharat D., Sujan K. Dhar and Das, M. (2020). Relative Quantification of BCL2 mRNA for Diagnostic Usage Needs Stable Uncontrolled Genes as Reference. PLoS One, 15(8), e0236338. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0236338

Smitha, P. K., Vishnupriyan, K., Kar, A. S., Kumar, M. A., Bathula, C., Chandrashekara, K. N., Sujan K. Dhar & Das, M. (2019). Genome wide search to identify reference genes candidates for gene expression analysis in Gossypium hirsutumBMC plant biology19(1), 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12870-019-1988-3

Vishnupriyan, K., Prakash, S. O., & Kavitha, M. (2019). Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats-associated protein 9: A new era in targeted molecular therapy. Drug Invention Today, 11(1).

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