Graduate Studies Faculty
Michael J. Gough, Ph.D.
Programs:Molecular Microbiology & Immunology
Program in Molecular & Cellular Biosciences
Preceptor RotationsDr. Gough has not indicated availability for preceptor rotations at this time.
Faculty MentorshipDr. Gough has not indicated availability as a mentor at this time.
In our research to identify critical checkpoints in tumor therapy, we have increasingly focused on the tumor environment as a consistent obstacle to effective treatment. Our aim is to manipulate the endogenous immune response to generate a tumor environment that enhances conventional therapies and in this way integrate immune therapies into clinical practice.
Our laboratory interrogates the tumor immune environment through treatment and we are particularly focused on the interaction between the immune system and radiation therapy, chemotherapy and surgery. Each of these treatments present an opportunity to apply immunotherapies to target residual disease, and cytotoxic therapies also provide antigen and endogenous adjuvants to generate new adaptive immune responses against tumor antigens. Our preclinical studies test radiation therapy, chemotherapy and surgery in mouse models, including transplantable, orthotopic and transgenic cancer models. The preclinical models of radiation therapy use CT-guided radiation therapy on a treatment platform that permits highly focal treatments to model clinical practices. We use 10-13 parameter flow cytometry, immunofluorescence microscopy, and multiplex bead assays as well as antigen-specific T cell assays, flow sorting, molecular biology and protein assays to interrogate local and systemic immune responses.
The laboratory operates as a multi-investigator research group called the Integrated Therapies Laboratory, where PhD scientists and both MD and MD PhD physician-scientists test hypotheses in preclinical models and translate these findings to novel clinical trials. This research group has initiated six Phase I and Phase II clinical trials incorporating combinations of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and immunotherapy, as well as non-interventional studies designed to examine the role of immune cells in outcome in cancer patients. These studies have accrued over 200 patients in the past five years.
While these approaches could be applied to any disease site, our current emphasis is breast cancer, pancreatic cancer and colorectal cancer, with particular focus on the problem of residual and metastatic disease.