Human Cancer Immunology
HUMAN CANCER IMMUNOLOGY
One conspicuous limitation in human cancer immunology is the paucity of target antigens for clinical investigation. This void represents an unmet need for successful translation to develop the next generation of cancer immunotherapies.
The development of a systematic approach to identify and validate cancer neoantigens is a primary interest of our research laboratory. In collaboration with experts in cancer genomics, we have created a bioinformatics pipeline to identify tumor-specific missense mutations which encode neoantigenic peptides. Our team has successfully applied this strategy to develop the first test of personalized cancer vaccination in humans with melanoma. Ongoing proof-of-concept trials aim to strengthen our existing neoantigen pipeline and test new hypotheses in melanoma and other solid tumors. In particular, our work aims to characterize the functional and phenotypic landscape of vaccine-elicited T cells using new molecular technologies. We are especially interested in studying the fine antigen specificity of neoantigen-specific T cells elicited by immunization.
A related interest is the development of cellular therapies for cancer. We are currently exploring the development of neoantigen-specific T cell therapy. We work collaboratively with other research groups in order to find novel solutions to overcome the inherent obstacles created by the tumor microenvironment. The long term goal is to advance and test personalized medicine based cellular therapies in patients with cancer.