The Khleif Lab
Jeannie and Tony Loop Immune-Oncology Lab
Center of Immunology and Immunotherapy
Samir N. Khleif, MD, Director
As an immunologist and immune therapist, my interest has been in developing novel immune therapeutics, cancer vaccines and delineating the mechanisms of resistance to immunotherapy. My research program is translational tumor immunology focused on understanding mechanisms through which the immune system and cancer cells interact and how to overcome tumor tolerance in developing therapeutic approaches.
What is Immunotherapy Research?
Cancer immunotherapy is the science of treating tumors using our body's own immune system. Under normal conditions tumors evade the immune elimination by several mechanisms that range from loss of cell surface antigenic peptides, expression of immunosuppressive checkpoint molecules such as PDL1 and by establishing an immune-suppressive microenvironment mediated by cell populations such as regulatory T-cells, myeloid-derived suppressive cells and IDO-expressing cells.
For the progression of tumors and failure of therapy most of these mechanisms work in unison making tumors resistant to treatments. Hence a concerted effort would be required to reverse the immune-suppressive mechanisms that would help in overcoming therapeutic resistance. In this direction our lab examines the anti-tumor effects of various immune modulating anti-cancer agents alone and in combination to identify the best combination partners and optimize their scheduling and dosing.
The major projects our lab is performing are categorized as:
To learn more about how immunotherapy works, watch this quick video: