Bacteria and viruses are known to influence how cancer develops and responds to treatment, but comparatively little is known abou how fungi—another component of our microbiome—fit into the picture. Iliyan D. Iliev, Ph.D., a CRI Lloyd J. Old STAR at Weill Cornell Medicine, has found compelling evidence that fungi reside within human tumors. Now, with CRI support, he’s exploring the roles that fungi play in cancer immunity.
In particular, Dr. Iliev is investigating how different variants of fungi, as well as their metabolites and toxins, interact with both the immune system and bacteria, which can also inhabit tumors and influence patient outcomes. Additionally, he’s utilizing novel approaches to analyze fungi in the blood to determine if “circulating” fungal DNA can serve as a predictor of progression, survival, and immunotherapy response. Overall, his work aims to improve our understanding of host-mycobiome immune interactions in cancer, and help unlock new diagnostic, preventitive, and therapeutic opporunities.
Projects and Grants
Immune interactions with fungal microbiota during cancer progression and immunotherapy
Weill Cornell Medicine | All Cancers | 2022
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