Immunology of Cancer

Microscopy Cell Image

The past several years have witnessed a revolution in cancer treatment based on the paradigm of activating a patient’s own immune system to target their cancer. Cancer immunotherapy relies on the immune system’s ability to not only recognize “non-self,” but “altered self,” detecting the remarkably subtle differences between cancer cells and healthy tissues. Moreover, many therapies rely on pre-existing immune cells in the tumor microenvironment to for efficacy, highlighting the potential of natural immunosurveillance mechanisms to destroy cancer. In close collaboration with the Yale Cancer Center, ongoing work in the Department of Immunobiology focuses on seeking to understand the basic mechanisms of how innate and adaptive immune responses are generated against tumors, how tumor clearance is achieved, and how the immune system can be manipulated to enhance immunotherapy.