Peter Westcott, PhD

Funded with support from Carrie Collins in memory of Marty Collins

Immunotherapy helps the immune system recognize and kill cancer and it can cure patients where other treatments fail. Unfortunately, it still does not work for most patients. It is the goal of our research to understand why. Without a clear understanding of how cancer talks with the immune system, and how this conversation changes as cancer progresses, it is difficult to identify the root causes of why immunotherapy fails. Studying cancer evolution in patients is also challenging, as we rarely have the full history of tumor development and there is huge variability between tumors from one patient to the next. Through innovative genetic engineering, we are developing new mouse models of cancer that allow us to carefully study cancer development at all stages of the disease, especially at the moment when tumors acquire the ability to invade into other tissues—the reason cancer is so deadly. Why and how the immune system fails to stop cancer invasion and metastasis is not well understood and is a question of great importance. We will use the models we developed to study this question in creative and powerful new ways. We will also test exciting new immunotherapies, like cancer vaccines, in our models and determine why some tumors respond to treatment and others do not. Through this work, we hope to help match patients with the right immunotherapies and develop better immunotherapies that will be effective for many more patients.

Location: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory - Cold Spring Harbor
Proposal: Modeling the evolution of immune dysfunction in cancer
Mailing List Mailing List
Close Mailing List