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Researchers get $792,000 award to study combination radiation and immunotherapy for cancer

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IMAGE: Charlie Garnett Benson is an assistant professor in the Department of Biology at Georgia State University.

Credit: Georgia State University

ATLANTA–A Georgia State University researcher, in collaboration with the Winship Cancer Institute, has received a four-year, $792,000 Research Scholar Grant from the American Cancer Society to fight cancers using a combination of therapies.

Charlie Garnett Benson, assistant professor in the Department of Biology at Georgia State and the principal investigator on the grant, is defining ways to maximize responses to novel immune-based therapeutic approaches in combination with radiation treatment of cancer.

This grant will fund the work in Benson's lab to determine how the activity of killer T-cells is increased to fight colorectal cancers after radiation treatment, and how best to apply radiation therapy to enhance cancer immunotherapy effectiveness.

"One of the major research thrusts in our lab is to examine the effects of ionizing radiation on gene expression in diverse cells to gain further insights into the mechanistic link between irradiation and increased attack by immune cells," Benson said. "This grant provides the funding for our work to better understand the basic immunology principles that could impact the design of immunologic strategies in combination with standard therapies for the treatment of cancer."

Data obtained from these studies can be translated into the clinic for the design of these combination treatments. For this, Benson will work closely with Mohammad Khan, associate professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University.

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For more information about Benson and her lab, visit http://biology.gsu.edu/profile/charlese-benson/.

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Brian Mullen
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