2017 Recipient — Tyler Curiel, MD

Tyler Curiel, MD

Rational Design of Effective Multi-modal Ovarian Cancer Immunotherapy

Project Summary

Ovarian cancer elicits strong anti-cancer immunity, but the cancer is not eliminated. Our group has pioneered studies to understand why ovarian cancer is not immunologically eliminated, and has clinically tested promising approaches that could be significantly effective. Standard ovarian cancer treatment combines diverse approaches. Nonetheless, most immune therapy trials (including our early work) only test one immune treatment at a time. As we understand better the immune impediments in ovarian cancer, we can develop a program to combine our most successful approaches that we expect to synergize based on our understanding of their mechanisms.

We will develop rationally designed, effective multi-modal immune therapy for ovarian cancer using approaches in three key areas: i) reducing immune impediments to effective ovarian cancer immunotherapy, ii) blocking molecular mechanisms that drive tumor growth and inhibit anti-tumor immunity and iii) using new generation adoptive T cell transfers.

This program has three highly integrated and interactive projects led by four ovarian cancer thought leaders, to identify optimal approaches in these three key areas and means to combine them for maximal clinical effects. This rationally-designed immunotherapy can be safe, tolerable, effective, quickly translated, affordable and logistically amenable to appropriate scale out for wide application.

Our program will allow development of a major grant to test approaches clinically, first in resistant cancers, and later in relapse prevention and as treatment after failure of front-line therapy.


  • Jose Conejo-Garcia, MD, PhD, Wistar Institute
Carl June, MD, University of Pennsylvania
  • Daniel Powell, Jr., PhD, University of Pennsylvania
Areas of Research:


Tyler Jay Curiel, graduated summa cum laude with highest honors and honors in chemistry from the University of Georgia. He received his MD degree from Duke Medical School and his MPH from Harvard University. He did his internal medicine internship and residency at Yale-New Haven Hospital and Yale Medical School and a fellowship in infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He later re-trained as a medical oncologist at the University of Colorado. He is currently certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in internal medicine, infectious diseases and medical oncology.

His laboratory group focuses on developing effective immunotherapies for cancer, autoimmunity and age-related diseases. In the past 15 years his group has made important observations in the immunopathogenesis of ovarian cancer, including demonstrating a pivotal role for regulatory T cells and B7-H1 immune co-signaling, with the goal of developing more effective immunotherapies. These concepts have been put into ovarian cancer clinical trials with some successes, but his group continually seeks to improve clinical responses with novel approaches.