Susan Klaeger, Ph.D., CRI-Hearst Foundations FellowThe Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

The CRI fellowship allows me to perform cutting edge translational research and contribute to the generation of improved personalized cancer therapies.
Area of Research: All Cancers

Personalized cancer vaccines represent a promising immunotherapy approach now being evaluated in the clinic. By providing information about a tumor’s mutated markers—known as neoantigens—these vaccines can teach patients’ immune systems what their cancer cells “look like” and enable tumor-targeting immune responses. While the ability to identify a tumor’s neoantigens has advanced remarkably over the past decade, the ability to accurately predict which neoantigens will make the best targets for vaccines remains inadequate. To that end, Dr. Klaeger aims to improve the success of these prediction methods.

By applying today’s state-of-the-art mass spectrometers with specialized cell lines that allow precise analysis to be carried out, Klaeger and her colleagues are aiming to decipher the rules that govern the intracellular processing of (neo-)antigens and their presentation on the surface of cells. They also plan to improve direct identification of neoantigens in tumor cells using mass spectrometry. Overall, the insights she uncovers and the improved data generation methods she develops should increase our basic understanding of antigen presentation and processing, and enable improved strategies for creating personalized vaccines for cancer patients.

Projects and Grants

Immunopeptidomics for Antigen Discovery and Prediction

Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard | All Cancers | 2018 | Catherine Wu, M.D.

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