LUNGevity Foundation Highlights Research of Drs. Prendergast and Muller on IDO Inhibitors as Anti-Cancer Agents

Thursday, October 10, 2013

IDO Inhibitors help the immune system tackle cancer cells

The work of Lankenau Institute for Medical Research (LIMR) scientists George Prendergast, PhD and Alexander Muller, PhD was featured in a report by the LUNGevity Foundation. The preclinical cancer research, which was supported by a grant from the American Lung Association (ALA) and LUNGevity, helped to define the role of the enzyme IDO in lung tumor metastasis.

The body’s immune system is a defense mechanism for detecting and eliminating infections as well as newly-formed cancer cells. Drs. Muller and Prendergast focus their research on understanding how and why tumors suppress the immune response in cancer patients. They found that tumors make an enzyme called IDO that enables the tumor cells to escape from the immune surveillance system. LUNGevity funding helped propel their research to the discovery that an IDO inhibitor called D-1MT reduces lung tumors in animals. IDO inhibitors, which recently entered phase II clinical trials for cancer treatment in patients, have been named among the 'top 10' experimental treatments that could cure cancer by the National Cancer Institute.

“The support we received from the LUNGevity Foundation and ALA was pivotal in advancing our work to provide preclinical proof-of-concept for IDO inhibitors now in trial as pulmonary anti-metastatic agents,” states Dr. Prendergast. “It also stimulated the design of upcoming lung cancer trials that will employ IDO inhibitors. Thus, the translational impact of their investment in this research was significant.”

About LUNGevity Foundation

LUNGevity Foundation is firmly committed to making an immediate impact on increasing quality-of-life and survivorship of people with lung cancer by accelerating research into early detection and more effective treatments, as well as providing community, support and education for all those affected by the disease. The goal is to create the same successful improvements for lung cancer mortality rates as those experienced by the breast, prostate, and colon cancer communities, as well as to elevate lung cancer on the national agenda. LUNGevity was founded in 2001 by seven lung cancer survivors, and tens of thousands of others affected by lung cancer have joined in the years since. We will continue to build on that dedication and momentum to inspire the nation to commit to ending lung cancer. For more information, please visit

About Lankenau Institute for Medical Research

Founded in 1927, the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research (LIMR) is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research center located in suburban Philadelphia on the campus of Lankenau Medical Center. Part of Main Line Health, LIMR is one of the few freestanding, hospital associated medical research centers in the United States. The faculty and staff at the Institute are dedicated to advancing an understanding of the causes of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. This information is used to help improve diagnosis and treatment of these diseases as well as find ways to prevent them. LIMR is also committed to extending the boundaries of human health and well-being through technology development and the training of the next generation of scientists and physicians. To learn about LIMR, visit

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