Chelsea L. Miller
BS: University of Wisconsin (Madison, Wi)
(2011, Medical Microbiology & Immunology)
Chelsea Miller started as a Research Specialist in the McNeel Lab in June of 2012. She is the technician assigned to several clinical trials involving therapeutic vaccination with a DNA vaccine to treat patients with various stages of prostate cancer.
The goal of anti-tumor vaccines is to elicit a sustainable immune response which is able to eradicate a tumor or significantly reduce its growth. A phase I trial, which is nearly completed, involves the investigation of plasmid DNA vaccines in patients with recurrent prostate cancer. This study involves booster immunizations and detailed longitudinal immune analysis which will be useful in determining immunization schedules for vaccine administration in future trials. Another trial underway in the McNeel lab seeks to determine the vaccine’s ability to reduce the chance of developing metastasis with long-term treatment by comparing an experimental group to a control group. Other clinical trials in the McNeel lab which Chelsea is involved with include one in which patients receive both our vaccine therapy to illicit a cell-mediated immune response as well as another vaccine therapy which encourages an antibody immune response in order to analyze cooperative effects. Lastly, a recent clinical trial will involve the isolation and enumeration of circulating tumor cells in the peripheral blood of patients undergoing vaccine therapy.
Chelsea’s primary responsibilities include processing blood samples from clinical trial patients and isolating white blood cell populations to characterize individual immunological responses to cancerous prostate specific antigens. This research seeks to improve current DNA vaccine technologies and their clinical application in order to provide cancer treatment centers with low-cost, highly efficacious therapeutic methods with reduced side-effects.