Komen Scholar Spotlight
Keith L. Knutson, Ph.D. is Professor of Immunology at the Mayo Clinic and Affiliate Research Associate Professor at the Center for Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL. His work focuses on getting vaccines into the clinic, including efforts that are currently in various phases of clinical trials (including Phase III) and showing significant activity in preventing recurrence. One project is looking at integrating seven or eight national clinical research sites to conduct a Phase II clinical trial to test whether vaccination after conventional treatment can prevent recurrence of triple negative breast cancer. With Komen funding, Dr. Knutson is studying the first human breast cancer preventive vaccine by identifying a panel of overexpressed antigens that are widely shared amongst all major breast cancer subtypes, and targeting the immune response to cancer cells within a developing tumor. This strategy will allow for developing immunization systems to persistently detect and eradicate malignant cells before they become invasive and to continuously survey the gland lumen and the underlying stroma in the absence of disease.