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Convergence-Breast Cancer

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The Stand Up To Cancer – Breast Cancer Research Foundation – V Foundation Breast Cancer Convergence Translational

Team Leader

  • Peter P. Lee, MD

    Team Leader
    Billy and Audrey L. Wilder Endowed Professor, Chair, Department of Cancer Immunotherapeutics & Tumor Immunology, City of Hope, Co-leader Cancer Immunotherapeutics Program, City of Hope
    + Full Bio

About This Team’s Research

Tumors consist not only of cancer cells, but also stromal (connective tissue) and immune cells that constitute the tumor microenvironment.  Cancer cells can take on dramatically different properties based on the microenvironment.  The clinical impact of the microenvironment is only becoming appreciated in recent years.  In many different cancer types, including breast cancer, tumors with higher connective tissue fractions portend worse clinical outcomes.  In contract, tumors infiltrated by a type of white blood cell that kills cancer (CD8 T cells) have better clinical outcomes.  Hence, tumors behave differently based on the collective behavior of the microenvironment.  We hypothesize that the microenvironment is an important determinant for the efficacy of cancer immunotherapy.  Our study will bring together expertise in histology, image analysis, culturing cells from primary human breast tumors, bioinformatics, ecology modeling, and nanotechnology to study the ecology of the microenvironment in breast cancer and develop therapeutic and imaging applications.  A detailed characterization of the breast cancer tumor microenvironment will be compared to normal breast tissue by analyzing to human primary breast tumors, 20 human metastatic breast tumors, and 20 normal human breast samples.  We will establish long-term cultures of cancer and stromal cells directly from primary/metastatic human breast tumors to construct a set of population ecology models.  The goal will be to determine an interaction matrix that captures the basic way different cell types affect each other.  The eventual goal is to devise novel ways (by using mouse models) to modulate the microenvironment.

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