Program for Innovative Microbiome and Translational Research (PRIME-TR)
MD Anderson Cancer Center's new program through Moon Shots is derived and driven by Program Director, Dr. Jennifer Wargo, M.D. New to the institition from Baylor, Dr. Nadim Ajami, Ph.D., will act as the Executive Director of Scientific Research. The program's Executive Leadership Team (ELT) is made up of two Program Co-Directors, Dr. Robert Jenq, M.D. (Genomic Medicine) and Dr. Samuel Shelburne, M.D. (Infectious Diseases), and Program Manager Christine Diaz. The program encompasses three integrative teams: The Science Innovation Team, The Preclinical Development Team and The Clinical Translational Team (“Teams”).
PRIME TR aims to be a pioneer in transforming cancer therapy through the modulation of the human microbiome. Our mission is to build a robust framework that enables a concerted effort for translational research by leveraging existing resources at our institution and by developing programs and relationships to support novel translational applications. Our ultimate goal is to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment strategies for cancer patients and the population at-risk. Succeeding at this vision would result in the ability to prevent and treat a wider population via novel and better strategies based on microbiome applications. Our program is envisioned to grow to a self-sustainable and dedicated team to promote and support translational microbiome research within MD Anderson.
We hold monthly Microbiome Working Group meetings (in person or via Webex) the first Thursday of each month.
Delineating the role of the gut microbiome in response to immunotherapy. Our group has contributed significantly to studies interrogating the role of the gut microbiome in response to immunotherapy.
Defining the immune effects of targeted therapy. Our laboratory was the first to describe the immune effects of BRAF-targeted therapy in melanoma.
Understanding response and resistance to targeted therapy and immune checkpoint blockade in melanoma and other cancers. In addition to understanding immune effects of targeted therapy, we have also contributed significantly to the understanding of resistance mechanisms to this form of therapy.