Cancer immunotherapy is revolutionizing the treatment of many cancers. In particular, checkpoint inhibitors that block the brakes on immune cells, such as PD-1 and CTLA-4, are enabling patients to achieve long-term remission. Though there has been a great deal of success, not all patients respond to current drugs, and this is because tumors can evade the immune system in different ways. There is increasing evidence suggesting that one of the ways that tumors prevent their destruction is by recruiting cells with immunosuppressive functions while excluding immune cells with killer functions. However, we still do not know how tumors control the recruitment and exclusion of different immune cells, and there is an urgent need to determine this so we can develop drugs to target these processes and enable killer immune cells to wipe out tumors.
The goal of Dr. Brown’s project is to develop a new technology that can be used to rapidly assess the functions of hundreds of genes simultaneously within a tumor, while also preserving the tumor’s spatial architecture. He will use this technology to identify genes that are being used by lung tumors to exclude killer immune cell infiltration and prevent the tumor from being cleared. By identifying these immunosuppressive genes, they can begin to target these genes to facilitate immune system infiltration of tumors. Overall, this project aims to establish a new technology that can greatly accelerate the discovery of molecular targets for superior cancer immunotherapy approaches.
Projects and Grants
Identifying Genetic Determinants of Tumor Immune Composition by Spatial Functional Genomics
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai | All Cancers, Lung Cancer | 2020
Development of a novel technology for cancer immunology target discovery
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai | All Cancers | 2019
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