New Targets and Strategies for Immunotherapy: Presenter Profile


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1 minute

New Targets and Strategies for Immunotherapy
Wednesday, December 7 • 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm CT • Stars at Night Ballroom 3&4

Lev Becker, PhD
Lev Becker, PhD

Presentation: Neutrophil elastase and anti-tumor effects

Lev Becker, PhD
Associate Professor
Ben May Department of Cancer Research
University of Chicago

What is your presentation about?
My presentation describes our discovery of neutrophil elastase as a broad anti-cancer protease. I will present our findings concerning its ability to kill a wide range of cancer cells, discriminate between cancer and non-cancer cells, its mechanism of action, as well as its efficacy across a range of pre-clinical cancer models, including breast cancer. 

What makes this topic important in 2022?
The development of checkpoint inhibitors has revolutionized the way cancer is treated and produced tremendous clinical impact. It has also validated the overall strategy of attacking cancer by modulating our body’s immune system and opened the door to a wide range of opportunities in immuno-oncology. Extending these efforts to therapeutically harness our innate immune system is of importance and interest.

How/why did you become involved with this area of breast cancer research or care?
This project did not begin with a focus on breast cancer per se. Instead, we were interested in understanding how human neutrophils kill cancer cells, determining whether this killing was selective to cancer, and exploring therapeutic potential. The end-product of this line of investigation is an agent (neutrophil elastase, porcine pancreatic elastase) that shows efficacy across multiple cancer types, including breast cancer.