Lung cancer immunology

 
 

Investigating T cell function in developing cancer

Tumor-specific CD8 T cells are amongst the cell types that respond to checkpoint immunotherapy and mediate tumor destruction in many cancer types, including lung cancer. In cancer patients, these T cells are often “exhausted”, and antibodies to PD-1 act to promote their functions. However, an outstanding question is how the population of tumor-specific T cells developed and became exhausted over the course of the tumor development and what role the process of exhaustion played in the biology of the tumor. Using genetically engineered mouse models, we investigate how terminal differentiation of tumor-specific T cells occurs over the disease course and the factors in the tumor microenvironment that drive terminal differentiation.

This work is supported by grants from the Lung Cancer Research Foundation and the Yale SPORE in lung cancer

Understanding tertiary lymphoid structure development

Lung cancers are frequently associated with tertiary lymphoid structures (TLSs) in patients, and these structures correlate with good outcomes for patients. Yet, little is known about how these structures form during tumor development. Using genetically engineered mouse models, we are probing the interactions and signals that lead to TLS development and determining how TLSs impact tumor biology.

This work is supported by a K22 grant from the National Cancer Institute.