Macrophage Dynamics in Cancer Treatment
Our group studies the microenvironment-mediated mechanisms of
tumor maintenance and therapeutic resistance in brain and liver
malignancies. In particular, we investigate the acquired resistance
mechanisms resulting from alterations in the activation and
recruitment of myeloid cells, more specifically macrophages and
their mediators in response to standard of care treatment.
Interestingly, we have shown that altering the activity of
tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) in gliomas results in their
reeducation into potent anti-tumor effectors. One of our goal is to
define the functions of resident versus infiltrating macrophages in
protecting tumor cells in the context of combined radio- and
chemotherapy, the standard-of-care treatment for glioma. Given that
the number of TAMs increases in the context of glioma treatment, we
aim to identify the vulnerabilities in the cancer cell/ stromal
compartment heterotypic communication that may be targeted
therapeutically. Furthermore, we are also interested in
understanding how genetic mutations in cancer cells shape the tumor
microenvironment to its advantage in hepatocellular carcinoma.
Our research interests involve the use of in vitro and in vivo
systems for the study of brain and liver cancer, including high
throughput imaging, as well as sophisticated transgenic and
cell-tracing mouse models and patients sample analyses.
The ultimate goal of our projects is to improve the
understanding of the complexity of the tumor microenvironment to
harness its potential, using the brain and liver and experimental
settings of cancer inflammation.