Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Departments of Surgery & Medicine
Cancer Institute of NJ, Room 2004
195 Little Albany Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Cancer, immunotherapy, oncolytic viruses, tumor immunology
Research in the Kaufman Lab focuses on understanding how viruses can be used to kill cancer cells and stimulate host anti-tumor immune responses. The lab has studied native and genetically modified poxviruses engineered to express cytokines and T cell co-stimulatory molecules. Other work has used herpes simplex viruses with deletions of the ICP34.5 and ICP47 viral genes and encoding GM-CSF. This vector was tested in murine cancer models and the lab actively participated in clinical trials demonstrating a clinical benefit for melanoma patients and demonstrated that injection of the virus into the tumor microenvironment was associated with melanoma-specific CD8+ effector T cells and a decrease in CD4+FoxP3+ T regulatory cells and myeloid-derived suppressor cells. The lab is actively pursuing tumor cell based studies to determine how various signaling pathways may be permissive for viral infection and help promote selective tumor cell replication of oncolytic viruses. In addition, the lab has established several novel syngeneic and humanized murine cancer models for testing oncolytic viruses alone and in combination with other immunotherapy agents. The lab also contributes to clinical trials of oncolytic virus immunotherapy in patients with melanoma and is exploring predictive biomarkers of therapeutic response in peripheral blood and within the tumor microenvironment.