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Cynthia Sears, M.D., Fight Colorectal Cancer & Cancer Research Institute InvestigatorJohns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Through our CRI and Fight CRC grant, we hope to use the microbiome to develop a new prevention tool that identifies those at increased colon cancer risk.
Area of Research: Colorectal Cancer

Trillions of bacterial cells reside in our intestines. In addition to aiding digestion, they also appear to influence the immune system and cancer. In colorectal cancer (CRC) especially, bacterial biofilms and the inflammation they’re associated with appear to be important factors in the development of tumors.

To address this, Dr. Sears is characterizing how these invasive bacterial biofilms influence the activity of T cells and overall immune responses against both primary CRC tumors as well as those that have metastasized to other organs. Ultimately, Dr. Sears and her team aim to identify which bacterial components support beneficial immune activity, and which contribute to inflammation and cancer growth and survival. These insights could then suggest biomarkers that doctors could use to predict which patients are likely to benefit from immunotherapy, as well as pave the way for the development of improved treatment and prevention strategies in the future.

Projects and Grants

Gut microbiome and the immune microenvironment of human metastatic colorectal cancer"

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine | Colorectal Cancer | 2017

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