CRI Funded Scientists

Marc Schwartz, MD, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Area of Research: All Cancers

One of the most exciting recent developments in cancer treatment is the growing ability to use the body’s own immune system to directly fight tumors. However, these treatments still do not work on most patients, and it’s now becoming clear that to function well, many immune therapies depend on a particular type of cancer-killing cell referred to as a “stem-like” CD8 T cell. This type of cell is long-lived and therefore able to continue fighting tumors over long periods of time. In contrast, other types of T cells do not last as long and therefore are not as effective at sustained tumor control. Cancer patients who have more of these stem-like CD8 T cells respond much better to immune therapies. Right now, there are no effective ways to make sure that these stem-like CD8 T cells are generated in each patient.

Therefore, Dr. Schwartz’s research seeks to understand what controls the development of these important, long-lived, cancer-fighting cells. He is developing this understanding by using cutting-edge technologies that allow him to test every gene in the entire genome to find out what regulates stemlike CD8 T cells. He will then use that information to attempt to increase the number of stem-like CD8 T cells in mouse tumors, which he predicts will drastically improve the response to immune therapies. With the knowledge gained from these studies, Dr. Schwartz hopes to design new treatment strategies that enhance the ability to harness the immune system to fight tumors in every cancer patient.

Projects and Grants

Discovery of TCF7 regulators to improve CD8 T cell persistence and long-term tumor control

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute | All Cancers | 2021 | Nir Hacohen, PhD

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