Checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapies have helped many patients by enabling anti-cancer T cells to remain active against tumors, but unfortunately these treatments are not always effective. Therefore, Dr. Hacohen’s work aims to understand why, and then overcome these obstacles to expand immunotherapy’s effectiveness to more patients. Specifically he’s characterizing how the tumor and immune cells evolve together over time in patients who respond initially, but then develop resistance. Already he’s identified mutations in the antigen presentation pathway that arise during treatment, as well as differences in immune cells between responders and non-responders. These findings will hopefully help guide the development of better predictive methods as well as treatment for these patients.
My personal goal is to deeply understand how the immune system recognizes cancers and eliminates it, and then to use that knowledge to develop increasingly specific and powerful therapies to control cancer. Support from CRI is empowering me to take on this basic question with the most modern tools available.
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