• Christine Chan

Announcing… the first Cancer Vaccine Institute “Dream Project”

Guest post by Christine Chan and Hollie Seiler, UW Medicine Advancement





A few months ago, our CVI Development Council members encouraged Dr. Nora Disis to dream big and explore what she and the CVI team would do if she had additional funding. Funds raised through philanthropy are used to conduct research and hire exceptional staff who run clinical trials, administer grants, and help vaccines reach patients as quickly as possible. Dr. Disis presented 5 bold ideas for “dream projects” to accelerate the CVI’s efforts to develop strategies to ignite the immune system to end cancer. In partnership with our Development Council, we are so excited to share our first dream with you, our community! Drumroll please… Our first project aims to ignite the immune system by modifying gut bacteria!

While most patients in our studies show a strong anti-cancer immune response to our vaccines, there are some patients who do not respond as well. We would like to better understand what might be causing the vaccines to be less effective in some patients. We think we’ve found one of the answers and it lies in the bacteria in our gut, our microbiome.


We’ve developed a blood test that can help us understand the link between gut bacteria and cancer growth and treatment response in many different types of cancers. We’re developing strategies such as cancer-fighting probiotics to activate the immune system to eliminate cancer.


Our vision is that when patients are getting ready to receive a vaccine, their physicians may use this blood test to determine if tailored probiotics would improve their response to vaccines and other immune therapies. Our ultimate goal is to use cancer vaccines and other immune therapies to eliminate cancer in all patients.


To support this revolutionary work, please visit: https://online.gifts.washington.edu/peer2peer/Campaign/microbiome.



About the authors: Christine Chan and Hollie Seiler are fundraisers for the Cancer Vaccine Institute. Please contact Hollie at hseiler@uw.edu if you would like to learn more about how to support the CVI.