Immune Cells Infiltrate a Lung Tumor 1

Immune Cells Infiltrate a Lung Tumor 1

Elen Torres

Koch Institute at MIT, MIT Department of Biology

Clinical evidence has shown that the presence of immune cells inside the tumor might predict whether a patient will respond to checkpoint blockade therapy. However, we still do not fully understand the factors that control the infiltration of immune cells into the tumor mass, and why some patients have pre-existing immune infiltration while others lack this type of anti-tumor immune response. Using a biopsy from a human patient with non-small cell lung cancer, we observe lung tumors cells marked by cytokeratin (green) and Sox2 (magenta). Interestingly, we observe that cytotoxic T cells, marked by CD8 (white), are located mainly outside of the Sox2-positive tumor regions.

In our lab, we are studying how the expression of oncogenes, like Sox2, in tumor cells can make themselves “invisible” to the immune system. If we learn how differences in oncogene expression lead to differences in immune cell infiltration, we can engineer new therapies to potentiate the immune response, allowing the immune system to see the cancer cells and destroy them, thereby improving treatment outcomes.

green and purple cell clusters speckled with white stretch like clouds across a black field

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