To develop into full-blown, metastatic malignancies, primary tumors typically evolve over years to thwart immune attack. Tumor immunology identifies and describes those defenses, while immunotherapy seeks to undo them to revive or direct an immune assault on cancer. Ludwig researchers have for decades made seminal discoveries in both those efforts, identifying the first known naturally occurring tumor antigens, providing the first evidence of tumor escape from immune surveillance and bringing the first generation of immunotherapies to the clinic. They continue today to expand on those proud accomplishments in laboratories around the world. Tumor immunology at Ludwig runs the gamut—from the basic immunology of suppressive immune cells harnessed by tumors and the identification of novel mechanisms of immunosuppression all the way to the development of general and personalized therapies to dismantle those defenses and treat cancer.
Sam Gambhir, the Virginia and D. K. Ludwig Professor of Cancer Research at Stanford University School of Medicine, gives an overview of molecular imaging technologies and how they are being utilized to monitor immunotherapies in living subjects.
Johanna Joyce introduces the general features of the tumor microenvironment;, discusses critical functions of tumor-promoting myeloid cells in regulating cancer progression, metastasis and therapeutic resistance; and outlines current strategies for therapeutic targeting.
Benoît Van den Eynde tells the story of this discovery and its subsequent translation to develop a pair of candidate immunotherapies, one of which will soon enter clinical trials in partnership with Pfizer.
Irv Weissman of Ludwig Stanford covers his laboratory’s investigation of cancer stem cells with an emphasis on CD47.