Improving cancer vaccination strategies

Therapeutic cancer vaccines can kick-start anti-tumor immune responses, and thus have the potential to treat patients in whom more passive immunotherapy approaches may be ineffective. Our prior work has shown that generating collaborative multi-pronged anti-tumor immune responses is possible with the right combination of agents in low-grade lymphoma. We now aim to improve upon these results by applying the lessons learned to designing better approaches that work in more patients and more types of cancer. Areas of focus include antigen presentation, novel immune stimulants and combinations, and vulnerabilities of immune suppressive elements.

Immunobiology of indolent B cell lymphoma

Indolent B cell lymphomas often remain in remission for many years but inevitably relapse. They also can rarely undergo spontaneous regressions. We aim to uncover to what extent the processes underlying these fluctuations are modulated by the immune system versus triggered by tumors themselves. We’ll use deep multiparameter immunological techniques to understand the differences between active disease and remission states with the goal of developing strategies that target, control and eliminate residual disease in these currently incurable cancers.

Immune function in patients with lymphoma

Our prior work has demonstrated that patients with diffuse large B cell lymphoma suffer from excess risks of immune deficiencies, infections, and autoimmune conditions years after completing treatment. We have shown that vaccine responses can be impaired in patients with B cell lymphoma, particularly after treatment. To understand the cellular and molecular underpinnings of altered immunity in patients with lymphoma, we are characterizing their immune function at rest and upon challenge. These insights could inform both diagnosis of immune related conditions in lymphoma patients as well as immunotherapy approaches that may rely on fitness of specific immune elements.