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Dr. BRIAN CZERNIECKI, MD, PhD.

Chair, Dept of Breast Oncology, Moffitt Cancer Center,
Professor Emeritus of the University of Pennsylvania


Dr. Brian Czerniecki is Chair and Senior Member in the Moffitt Cancer Center Department of Breast Oncology. Dr. Czerniecki received his BS in Biochemistry from the University of Maine and his MD from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and his PhD from UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson and Rutgers University. Dr. Czerniecki completed his general surgical residency at The Ohio State University and was Surgical Oncology Fellow at the NCI with Dr. Steven Rosenberg prior to his position at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

While at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Czerniecki served as Professor of Surgery, Perelman School of Medicine; Attending Surgeon, Department of Surgery, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania; and Co-Director of the Rena Rowan Breast Center–Recruitment and Center Expansion. His research interests focus on dendritic cell biology and interactions with T cells. He has developed dendritic cell vaccines for the treatment of cancer. He is involved with several clinical trials for treating patients with early breast cancer with dendritic cell vaccines. Dr. Czerniecki’s research goal is the development of vaccines for the prevention of breast and other solid-tumor cancers. Toward that end, he is working on identifying molecular targets in early breast cancer that can be used to prevent invasion and metastasis. Dr. Czerniecki has more than 100 publications and is recognized nationally for his contribution to the development of sentinel lymph node mapping, a procedure for determining the spread of cancer into lymph nodes that is less invasive than diagnostic surgery.

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VACCINE EXPLAINED

The T lymphocyte (T cell) is a very important white blood cell; found in the immune system it is capable of directly attacking infections or cancer and controlling other cells. Czerniecki’s work has shown that T cell subtype Th1 is critical for successful immunity against cancer in particular and is unique in its ability to produce a factor called interferon gamma (IFN-γ).

A regulatory T cell (Treg) can switch off strong immune responses during repair or keep the immune system in check to prevent autoimmune disease, however cancer cells have evolved to subvert such regulatory powers. In fact, tumors recruit Tregs to protect their own defenses from the immune system.

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