Research Project: Mapping T cell Exhaustion in Lung Tumors
Lung Cancer Discovery Award
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality. Immunotherapies, which are drugs to improve immune responses against tumors, have greatly improved clinical treatment of lung cancer. Unfortunately, not all patients respond to existing immunotherapies. We will identify strategies to develop new immunotherapies. In particular, we will deeply study T cells, a class of immune cell that can directly kill cancer cells. In the first part of this study, we will isolate individual T cells from lung tumors that have been surgically resected from cancer patients. We will deeply probe these T cells to detect signaling pathways that may inhibit their function. In the second part of this study, we will use a new technique, termed spatial transcriptomics, to spatially locate these T cells within the tumor and identify nearby molecules that may inhibit their function. By combining these parts, we will identify targets to improve cancer immunotherapy.