Skin cancer is one of the most prevalent types of cancer worldwide, and several skin cancers have been shown to be directly caused by viruses. Our immune system constantly surveys our bodies for malignant cancer cells and eliminates them once such cells have been discovered via a process is known as immunosurveillance, but the scope of the immune responses that contribute to immunosurveillance is not entirely understood.
Bacteria on the skin are known to influence immune responses there, including against viruses, so Dr. Wells is working to characterize exactly how the skin microbiota—the collection of all microbes found there—contribute to immunosurveillance and determine whether it might be able to help protect against cancers caused by viruses. Her research also seeks to identify novel targets for new immunotherapies, including improved cancer vaccines. Overall, she is combining both fundamental and tumor immunology to help us better understand and address tumor development and immunosurveillance.
Projects and Grants
Investigation of an Anti-Tumor Multikingdom Dialogue in the Skin
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH | Skin Cancer | 2020 | Yasmine Belkaid, Ph.D.
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