My passion for science and cancer research began with my grandfather’s diagnosis with a rare form of malignancy, angiosarcoma of the scalp. The news that my grandfather was sick with an incurable metastatic disease shattered my world. Next my uncle, was diagnosed with Stage IV colorectal cancer. The dire prognosis for both my uncle and grandfather was a result of their cancer spreading and a lack of effective therapies for their treatment. Yet, within every cancer patient is an opportunity for an effective, even curative therapy using our own immune system.
If we knew how to better control the activities of our immune cells, we could solve the majority of human health problems, particularly cancer. I am fascinated by the ability of the immune system to survey the cellular and molecular ecology of the body and seek out disseminated tumor cells or eliminate individual cells with emerging malignant potential. We have only scratched the surface in our understanding of anti-tumor immunity and how to leverage the immune system effectively in our treatment of cancer. This is why I am so excited about our lab’s findings indicating that the most durable anti-tumor immune responses are driven by B cells, providing us with an opportunity to provide innovative therapies for cancer patients.