Parker Bridge Fellows Program; Funded in partnership between Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy and the V Foundation
Using the immune system to fight cancer is an exciting area of research that has led to cures for some cancers that could never be cured before. These “immune therapies” teach and enable cells in the immune system to recognize and fight cancers. Unfortunately, making effective immune therapies is difficult for deadly cancers of the brain. One challenge is that immune cells are not able to get into the brain as easily as other parts of the body. Another challenge is that the cells in the tumor can suppress the immune system, so that even when immune cells enter the brain, they cannot kill the tumor. We are interested in studying how cells interact inside of tumors to better understand why some immune cells are effective at killing tumors and others are not. My research uses a new kind of microscope imaging to see tumor cells and immune cells with more detail than ever possible before. This allows our lab to look at the structure of brain tumors to better understand how immune cells enter the brain and interact with other cells in the tumor. By understanding better how brain tumors and immune system influence each other, we hope to make more effective immune therapies to treat this deadly type of cancer.