Modifying the tumor microenvironment to enhance the anti-tumor immune response. Weiner and colleagues are exploring the effects of the TLR9 agonist CpG ODN in a variety of approaches including a collaboration with Dr. Aliasger Salem exploring microparticles containing CpG ODN. These particles are designed to alter the tumor microenvironment, break immune tolerance, and enhance development of the anti-tumor immune response. Ongoing studies in the laboratory that have now entered clinical trials involve evaluation of a virus-like particle containing CpG ODN in collaboration with Checkmate Pharmaceuticals. Related studies are exploring the factors that impact on T cell migration into tumors with the long term goal of enhancing tumor infiltration by anti-tumor T cells.

Mechanisms of action of anti-cancer monoclonal antibodies. The Weiner Laboratory has a long-standing interest in the mechanisms of action of anti-cancer antibodies, with a particular focus on the complex interactions between complement fixation and antibody dependent cellular cytotoxicity. The goal of this research is to identify approaches to designing more effective anti-cancer monoclonal antibodies.

RNA aptamers and cancer immunotherapy. The newest area of research in the Weiner laboratory is based on a collaboration with Dr. Paloma Giangrande and involves the selection and analysis of RNA aptamers designed to modify the anti-cancer immune response.