University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
The immune system is able to detect newly arising tumors and normally eliminates these rogue cells. However, it is now clear that tumors have evolved specific mechanisms that thwart this immune response. The recent success in the clinic of immunotherapies that interrupt the ability of tumors to suppress the immune system have provided impetus to identify novel tumor-derived suppressive mechanisms for potential therapeutic use. Recent work in Dr. Torres’ lab has identified another mechanism by which tumors inhibit the anti-tumor immune response and current experiments are designed to better define how this immune suppression operates in a mouse model. More specifically, the Torres lab has discovered that tumors often aberrantly produce a specific lipid that, not only can promote tumor growth, but also can directly inhibit T lymphocytes from mounting an anti-tumor immune response.
Students will perform experiments (often in collaboration with lab personnel) that include using cell culture to look at T cell function, molecular biology to evaluate gene expression and flow cytometry to assess immune status. Students will also record and analyze experimental results and discuss findings with our group.