MIB Agents is excited to visit Dr. Andy Livingston at MD Anderson Cancer Center next month to get an update on his OutSmarting Osteosarcoma funded study on Defining the Immune Atlas in Osteosarcoma Lung Metastases and to take a peek into the Haymaker Lab where some of the research magic happens. We talked to Dr. Livingston about his work and what motivates and drives his research.
Associate Professor, Department of Sarcoma Medical Oncology, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics Patient Care, Division of Pediatrics, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; Co-director of the MD Anderson Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) oncology program. MIB Agents Scientific Advisory Board Member
With my background and training in both internal medicine and pediatrics, I have had a longstanding interest in caring for teens and young adults with cancer. As a resident, I had the opportunity to volunteer as a camp doctor for teenagers with chronic illness. I was inspired when I saw many teens with bone sarcomas, amputations, and rotationplasty living life to the fullest. In osteosarcoma, I saw both an opportunity and a challenge – an opportunity to care for teens and young adults, many of whom can be cured with chemotherapy and surgery, and a challenge to find new treatments to impact a disease that has seen slow progress in improving cure rates in recent years.
I am a clinician, clinical investigator, and translational researcher. In this role, I care for kids and adults with osteosarcoma in the clinic, write and conduct clinical trials, and partner with lab-based scientists to understand how the biology of osteosarcoma can influence response or resistance to treatment. My research is focused on understanding primary immune and genomic mechanisms of resistance to immunotherapy in osteosarcoma and devising novel immunotherapy approaches for patients with relapsed/metastatic disease. In collaboration with Dr. Andy Futreal (Chair of Genomic Medicine, MD Anderson Cancer Center), we completed genomic and immune profiling of a large set of osteosarcoma patient samples and identified unique immune subsets of osteosarcoma. We are bringing these findings to the clinic in multiple new and ongoing clinical trials for osteosarcoma patients.
The OutSmarting Osteosarcoma grant application and selection process is truly unique. Being selected for this award by scientists, patients, families, and survivors of osteosarcoma is great honor and inspiration. It means that patients and families believe in me, my team, and our research to truly “Make It Better” for those facing this disease.
There is a lot to be excited about in cancer research and innovative clinical trials. I am particularly interested in 3 approaches that I believe have great potential in osteosarcoma: 1) treatments that capitalize on osteosarcoma’s unique genomics and seek to address a key vulnerability in DNA damage response and repair pathways such as ATR inhibitors and other novel agents, 2) the development of antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) which allow for more tumor-specific targeting of a cytotoxic agent based upon antigens expressed on the tumor surface, and 3) innovative cell-based immunotherapy for solid tumors that can overcome an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment.