Dr. Dustin Deming wants to “fundamentally change the way we treat colorectal cancer.”

Deming is an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and a colon-cancer survivor. Through his research, he hopes to combine immunotherapy and precision medicine to develop more effective colorectal cancer therapies.

Immunotherapy trains the patient’s immune system to recognize and kill cancer cells. Currently, it benefits only a small subset of patients with colorectal cancer. But Deming’s research and that of other scientists shows the potential to enhance immunotherapy by combining it with precision medicine, which targets specific genetic mutations that drive an individual’s cancer.

Deming will continue this line of research with the support of a $25,000 Ride Scholar Award, funded by proceeds from The Ride, a bicycling fundraiser for cancer research at the University of Wisconsin.

The next step in this project is to conduct experiments using mouse models and 3D tissue cultures to screen targeted therapies for their potential to enhance the immune response.

“Through this research, we hope to identify targeted therapies that increase the effectiveness of immunotherapy and thereby help more patients with colorectal cancer,” Deming says. “I’m grateful to all the people who donated to The Ride, and I appreciate the opportunity this award provides.”