CRI Funded Scientists

Jason A. Carter, MD, PhD, CRI Immuno-Informatics Fellow

University of Washington

Area of Research: Liver Cancer

Dr. Jason Carter is focused on developing effective immunotherapy for fibrolamellar carcinoma (FLC), a rare form of liver cancer that predominantly affects children and young adults. Patients often present with large tumors and metastases, that do not respond to current systemic therapies. Unlike many other cancer types, FLC has a common genetic abnormality that contributes to the development of the disease—a fusion product between the DNAJB1 and PRKACA genes.  The DNAJB1-PRKACA fusion gene is present in nearly all FLC patients. The protein produced by this fusion gene is an attractive candidate to target by immunotherapy. 

Dr. Carter’s earlier research found that anti-tumor immunity against cancer cells expressing the fusion gene is limited by two factors; physical exclusion of T cells from the tumor and local immunosuppression limiting the function of immune T cells that infiltrate into the tumor. Dr Carter is studying the mechanisms that cause immunosuppression in the FLC tumor microenvironment. He is using a novel method—slice culture model system to study fresh human tumor samples for his studies. He will use cutting-edge “omics” approach to study the local immunosuppression in liver cancer. These results will guide the development of methods to reduce immunosuppression and enhance the function of T cells that recognize the FLC fusion protein with an aim to improve treatment for the disease.  

Project and Grants

Targeting of the DNAJB1-PRKACA fusion protein for precision immunotherapy in fibrolamellar carcinoma 

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