Our 2019-2020 MSTS/Sarcoma Strong Mentored Research Award recipient, Dr. Rosanna Wustrack, has completed the first of two aims of her study. The first aim was to collect fresh undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma (UPS) specimens and characterize the host immune response. Her team was able to successfully identify the tumor infiltrating immune cell subsets in 20 freshly resected extremity UPS specimens. Lymphocytes represented a greater proportion of the immune cell population in smaller tumors compared to larger tumors; specifically, CD8+ T cells were seen at a lower frequency in the tumors greater than 8cm compared to those less than 8cm. As patients with high grade tumors greater than 8cm historically have had worse outcomes, this data shows that the host immune environment may play a role in these clinical outcomes and could be a future target for sarcoma immunotherapy. The pandemic slowed her research team’s progress on their second aim to develop an immunocompetent sarcoma mouse model, then treat the sarcomas with high intensity focused ultrasound, and then evaluate the post-treatment immune profile.
Stay tuned to hear about more great work coming out of Dr. Wustrack’s lab at UCSF. As her research progresses we will report her results in future posts.