Hope Funds for Cancer Research
Press Release

Research by Hope Funds Fellow Could Improve Treatment with Cancer Immunotherapies

For Immediate Release
Media Contact:
John A. Wells

Newport, RI - September 12, 2021 - A Hope Funds research fellow and his team have produced a study on the modulation of cancer immunotherapy by species of the gut microbia that was published recently by the journal Science.

Co-author of the study is Matthew E. Griffin Ph.D., Hope Funds Research Fellow, in the laboratory of Howard Hang Ph.D. at The Scripps Research Institute, formerly at The Rockefeller University. The findings are described in a news story Scripps Research. Click here to read the article: Scripps Release.

In this project, Dr. Griffin and colleagues explored the bacterial genus Enterococcus, which has been correlated with improved immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy and delineated the unique attributes of these bacteria that can augment therapeutic intervention. By discovering the protein and cellular attributes of enterococci that are necessary for its activity during cancer treatment, they sought to provide the first direct evidence of the molecular factors used by these bacteria to control host response to immune checkpoint inhibitors.

The lab envisioned that, if successful, this project would enable the discovery of new biomarkers to predict patient response to these drugs prior to treatment, the rational design of probiotic supplements for use in combination with cancer immunotherapy, and a roadmap to discover new protective microbes guided by the molecular factors they discover.

"Hope Funds is very pleased to learn of of these significant findings by Dr. Griffin and Dr. Hang and their colleagues," said Leah Rush Cann, Chair of the Hope Funds Executive Committee. "Funding outstanding postdoctoral researchers such as Dr. Griffin is the most productive and cost effective way of of supporting such important research."

Dr Griffin expressed "profound gratitude for Hope Funds' support, particularly through the challenges posed by the pandemic."

About Matthew E. Griffin, Ph.D.
Dr. Griffin is at the Scripps Research Institute, and formerly The Rockefeller University, in the laboratory of Howard Hang. His work aims to improve the effectiveness of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) by better understanding the causal relationships between individual microbial species in the gut and drug efficacy and providing novel strategies to broadly improve ICI efficacy against many cancers. Dr. Griffin received his B.S. in Biological Chemistry from Tulane University, New Orleans and his Ph.D. in Chemistry from California Institute of Technology, Pasadena CA.

About Science
The Science family of journals is published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s oldest and largest general science organization. The nonprofit AAAS serves 10 million people through primary memberships and affiliations with some 262 scientific societies and academies. A voice for science and scientists everywhere, AAAS fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” by communicating the value of science to the public, helping governments formulate science policy, promoting advancements in science education and diversity, and helping scientists develop their careers.

About Hope Funds for Cancer Research
Hope Funds for Cancer Research was formed in 2006 to establish a funding vehicle that would take a rational scientific, medical, and investment approach to making grants for the most innovative and promising research efforts to address the most difficult-to-treat cancers, including pancreatic, lung, liver, sarcomas, esophageal, brain, gastric, renal and ovarian cancers, as well as rare leukemias, lymphomas and MDS. These cancers are insidiously aggressive illnesses that kill most of their victims within months, even with aggressive chemotherapy. The Trustees of the Hope Funds for Cancer Research believe that funding young, innovative researchers will lead to breakthroughs in these areas and increase life expectancy for those with these types of cancers. The Hope Funds for Cancer Research is a 509 (a)(1) charity under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service's code.  
For additional information about the organization, please visit or call (401) 847-3286. 
Hope Funds for Cancer Research: Advancing innovative research in understudied cancers 

 Hope Funds for Cancer Research is an independent and unaffiliated non-profit organization
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