Dendritic cells play an important role in the immune system’s ability to mount adaptive responses against cancer. As a result, they are targeted by a variety of immunotherapy strategies, including vaccines that teach the immune system what cancer “looks like.” Then, by displaying these tumor markers on their surface, dendritic cells can stimulate T cells to target and attack cancer cells that have these markers. However, the details of how dendritic cells orchestrate immune response are not fully understood, so Dr. Ferris aims to characterize some of the relevant factors.
In particular, he has identified genes that appear to be essential for effective immune responses mediated by dendritic cells. By characterizing those further—as well as identifying other potential targets involved—he hopes to improve our understanding of what is needed to induce tumor-specific immune responses. In this way, his insights could help enhance existing immunotherapies, including vaccines, as well as pave the way for the development of novel immune-based approaches against cancer.
Projects and Grants
Determining the role of cDC1s beyond cross presentation in anti-tumor immunity
Washington University School of Medicine | All Cancers | 2020 | Kenneth M. Murphy, M.D., Ph.D.
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