The immune system is both a source of malignancies and a tool for cancer therapy. The Immunology/Immunotherapy Program (IMM) supports basic and clinical research to increase the understanding and control of
- The immune response to cancer
- The ways hematopoietic cell development and its dysregulation can be used to treat hematologic malignancies
IMM Program members approach this two-faceted goal through three scientific Themes:
- Develop and Optimize Antigen-Directed Immunotherapeutics for Cancer
- Understand Positive and Negative Regulation of the Quality of Anti-Tumor Immunity
- Understand normal pathways of hematopoietic cell development and their dysregulation in hematologic malignancies
These Themes include outstanding basic science investigations, as well as highly collaborative translational initiatives to develop clinical trials based on this research. Program Co-Leader, Victor Engelhard, PhD, is internationally recognized for his work in tumor antigen identification and induction of tumor-specific CD8 T cell responses. Program Co-leader, Craig Slingluff, MD, has made major contributions to cancer immunotherapy through both laboratory research and investigator-initiated clinical trials. The Program supports research in progress presentations and seminars to engender new directions and collaborations; Pilot funding to encourage development of promising collaborations and ideas; and an Immune Monitoring Laboratory to facilitate clinical research. Cancer clinical trials initiated by IMM Members test hypotheses arising from laboratory science and also bring tissue to the laboratories to investigate cellular processes and molecular mechanisms to explain the clinical findings. This Program provides a firm foundation for continued advances in both understanding of the immune system and utilizing that knowledge to improve immunotherapy and treatment of hematologic malignancies.