Dr. Montero’s primary interest is in development of effective immunotherapeutic strategies for the treatment of solid tumors (in particular in breast cancer and hepatobiliary malignancies). Dr. Montero has a special interest in understanding how tumor derived factors lead to the accumulation of myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSC) and what bearing circulating MDSCs have on regulatory T-cells, prognosis, and on effectiveness of cancer vaccines or other immunotherapeutic strategies.
Dr. Montero’s ongoing research includes a novel glutathione mimetic (NOV-002) which is part of an investigator initiated phase II neoadjuvant trial at the University of Miami which thusfar in 17 patients with HER-2 unamplified breast cancer has shown to have an approximate 40% near pathologic and complete response rate (pCR) when combined with standard anthracycline-taxane based chemotherapy. In comparison to previously published trials, expected breast and node pCR rates for a similar chemotherapy regimen in HER-2 negative patients would be approximately 10-20%. Dr. Montero and colleagues have shown that NOV-002 has an immunomodulatory effect in vivo which may be an important mechanism of action. Currently, Dr. Montero is investigating the effects of NOV-002 on MDSC and dendritic cells in preclinical models as well as in correlative studies from collected blood from an ongoing phase II trial.
Selected Cancer-Related Publications
Salem ML, Diaz-Montero CM, Al-Khami AA, El-Naggar SA, Naga O, Montero AJ, Khafagy A, Cole DJ. Recovery from cyclophosphamide-induced lymphopenia results in expansion of immature dendritic cells which can mediate enhanced prime-boost vaccination antitumor responses in vivo when stimulated with the TLR3 agonist poly(I:C). J Immunol 182:2030-40, 2009. PubMed link
Diaz-Montero CM, Salem ML, Nishimura MI, Garrett-Mayer E, Cole DJ, Montero AJ. Increased circulating myeloid-derived suppressor cells correlate with clinical cancer stage, metastatic tumor burden, and doxorubicin-cyclophosphamide chemotherapy. Cancer Immunol Immunother 58(1):49-59, 2009. PubMed link
Diaz-Montero CM, El Naggar S, Al Khami A, El Naggar R, Montero AJ, Cole DJ, Salem ML. Priming of naive CD8+ T cells in the presence of IL-12 selectively enhances the survival of CD8+CD62Lhi cells and results in superior anti-tumor activity in a tolerogenic murine model. Cancer Immunol Immunother 57(4):563-72, 2008. PubMed link
Jiang Y, Ming L, Montero AJ, Kimchi E, Nikfarjam M, Staveley-O’Carroll KF. Optimizing imatinib mesylate treatment in gastrointestinal stromal tumors. Gastrointest Cancer Res 2:245-50, 2008. PubMed link
Gudena V, Montero AJ, Glück S. Gemcitabine and taxanes in metastatic breast cancer: a systematic review. Ther Clin Risk Manag 4:1157-64, 2008. PubMed link
For full description of Multidisciplinary Research Program(s), Tumor Immunobiology Program.
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