The Immunology program is a comprehensive program devoted to studies of the basic mechanisms by which the immune system affects tumor cell growth, translational studies of immune cell/tumor interactions and translation of these findings into clinical trials using vaccine therapy to treat patients with cancer. This program features outstanding junior and senior investigators and projects in all areas of cancer immunology.
The program is structured around two specific themes, innate and adaptive immunity, as they relate to cancer biology. Within each of these large thematic units are multiple subthemes that bring together a diverse group of investigators to collaborate on novel approaches to understanding mechanisms, and translate these findings. In the innate immunity theme is a large group of investigators that evaluate the interaction between inflammation and cancer with a particular focus on colitis and colorectal cancer and hepatitis and hepatocellular carcinoma. This focus brings together outstanding basic and translational researchers with a focus on colitis (Jobin, Plevy, Sartor) with members of the program interested in innate immunity (Serody, Ting) and members of this and other programs interested in adaptive immunity (Baldwin, Su, Tisch) as it relates to tumor development. Similarly, the subtheme of hepatitis and hepatocellular carcinoma brings together expert clinicians (Fried) with basic science investigators (Frelinger, Su, Ting). A second area of focus is the function of dendritic cells as they relate to anti-tumor immunity and brings together an outstanding group of basic and translational scientists (Clarke, Serody, Ting, Tisch, Vilen) and also intersects with members of other programs (Cancer Cell Biology – Baldwin, Virology – Heise, Johnston, and Raab-Traub). Subthemes in adaptive immunity include tumor vaccines that bring together basic investigators (Su, Ting, Tisch), physician scientists (Serody, van Deventer) and experts on viral vaccine platforms (Heise, Johnston). New areas of development include the biology of GvHD and the genetics of T cell development with a focus on leukemia and lymphoma (Wan).