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Immunogenomics and Cancer

What is immunogenomics?

Immunogenomics combines the fields of immunology (study of the immune system) and genomics (study of the genetic changes in cancer). The immune system can recognize and try to reject cancer cells as foreign, however cancer cells can develop ways to evade or escape the immune system.

Our mission for immunogenomics and cancer is to improve our understanding of the immune response against cancer, and develop novel therapies for patients.

What is Immunotherapy? Therapies that help the immune system recognize and fight cancer.

Important Questions and Challenges immunogenomics research:

What genetic changes occur in cancer cells?

  • New gene sequencing technologies characterize the genetic changes that arise in cancer
    • Computer science can process and analyze genetic data
  • How does the immune system react against cancer?
    • New gene sequencing technologies characterize the human immune system (e.g. T cells)
  • How does the bacteria content in our colon and intestinal tract influence the immune system?
    • New technologies can precisely characterize the gut bacteria or microbiome

Examples of immunogenomics research and applications:

Our research team has studied how cancers with many mutations may be more sensitive to novel therapies that boost the immune system(1, 2).

  • We are developing novel diagnostic tests to identify patients who may benefit from immunotherapy
  • We are developing clinical trials with novel therapies
  • We are studying how gut bacteria can influence therapy outcomes

Find out more about immunotherapy research at the James Cancer Hospital in this video.