Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy Program
The main focus of the Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy (CII) Program is to identify the role of immune cells and inflammatory molecules to the development of cancer.
It has been known for many years that chronic inflammation is a major risk for various cancers. A complex role for inflammatory cells and their mediators in cancer progression is now appreciated, in particular a role for cells of the innate immune system in the production of growth factors, survival factors, and factors facilitating metastasis, angiogenesis, and activation of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT).
The increasing evidence of inflammatory processes in cancers has prompted many studies to assess the efficacy of both pro- and anti-inflammatory agents as treatments. Indeed, a number of pre-clinical and clinical studies are underway targeting inflammatory molecules such as cytokines (TNFa in ovarian and renal cancer, IL-6 in multiple myeloma and hepatocellular carcinoma, and IL-1 in smoldering myeloma) and chemokines and their receptors (CCL2 and CCR2 in prostate and ovarian cancers, CCR4 in lymphomas, CXCR4 in multiple myeloma and acute myeloid leukemia). It has also been observed that pro-inflammatory agents such as BCG can be anti-tumorigenic; BCG has been successfully used in the treatment of bladder cancer, and appears to activate macrophages to kill tumor cells and stimulate the adaptive immunity.
The complex activities of pro-and anti-inflammatory agents in cancer biology are an area that is actively researched by the CII group with the ultimate goal of identifying new mechanisms for therapeutic intervention.
The CII Program revolves around three major themes:
- Theme 1 - The role of immune molecules in tumor growth
- Theme 2 - The role of the tumor immune microenvironment in tumor outcome
- Theme 3 - Studying the mechanisms that control tumor-specific immunity
Program Meeting Schedule
The CII Program regularly holds the following meetings:
- Cancer Immunology Meetings (biweekly)
- Tumor Immunology Seminar Series (monthly)
- Immunology Institute Retreat with Breakout Session focused on Tisch Cancer Institute (TCI)/CII activities (annual)
For more information on any of these meetings, please contact the program leaders.