Distinguished Seminar Series returns with a look at cancer immunotherapy

dr. vignali.

Published September 15, 2021


The University at Buffalo Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) Distinguished Seminar Series has presented top experts in their respective fields speaking on a diverse range of topics since its start in 2017. The series returns on Wednesday, October 6, with Dario A. Vignali, PhD, Distinguished Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Immunology, Leader, Cancer Immunology Program, Co-Director, Tumor Microenvironment Center, Scientific Director, Fondazione Ri.MED, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh.

The free seminar, titled “Immune Inhibitory Mechanisms in Cancer," will be held online via Zoom from 4 to 5 p.m.; find registration link here.

Vignali’s seminar will focus on immunotherapies targeting the PD1/PDL1 pathway, which have had a major impact on cancer treatment. However, only a proportion of patients respond, and an even smaller proportion exhibit a long-term, durable cure. Vignali will discuss several mechanisms of resistance and potential combinatorial approaches.

In addition, Vignali will explore how thinking more holistically on the tumor microenvironment and understanding the various cell types, molecules and mechanisms will enhance future treatments for all patients with cancer.

“I actually feel there is a lot of enthusiasm and opportunity in the future for combinatorial therapies,” Vignali explained in a 2020 video for The ASCO Post. “We just need to think more holistically about the tumor microenvironment, understanding that there are many different cell types and molecules and mechanisms that we have really only started to understand.”    

Serving as faculty leader for the series is Jessica Reynolds, PhD, Associate Director of the CTSI’s Workforce Development Core, co-investigator of the CTSI K Scholar Program, and Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. She says the process of choosing speakers involves finding recognized experts with an ability to tackle pressing research issues.

“These are internationally renowned investigators with expertise in the latest discoveries in clinical and translational research,” Reynolds says. “Dr. Vignali is a fine example. His work studying cancer immunotherapy is providing significant help to patients and insight to investigators.”

For questions about the CTSI Distinguished Seminar Series, contact scholar1@buffalo.edu or (716) 829-4718.