Major Research Interests
To date, therapeutic efforts to orient or augment the immune system against cancer have been largely unsuccessful. It has been speculated that a substantial reason for the failure of cancer immunotherapy is the putative ability of cancer to thwart immunological responsiveness. Our laboratory effort is directed at understanding the influence of cancer on the integrity of the immune system. We have developed a novel animal model with which we have been able to confirm and measure the suppressive influence of growing tumors on T cell responses to antigenic stimulation. Moreover, we have found that this cancer-induced immune suppression appears to affect the entire longitudinal spectrum of T cell homeostasis. We are presently investigating the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying this clinically undesirable phenomenon. Ultimately, our goal is to develop and test therapeutic strategies with which this immune suppression may be ameliorated; in this way, we hope to be able to actualize the enormous and desperately needed potential of cancer immunotherapy.
Additional research interests
Our laboratory is also actively engaged in clinical studies focused on improving our understanding and surgical management of hepatopancreaticobiliary and gastrointestinal malignancies.