Trainee Full Profiles


Hannah Curtis

Health Science, '21


The Role of CD8+ and CD4+ in the Tumor Microenvironment (TME) after Controlled Exercise in E0771/M3C Breast Cancer Models

Mentor: Dai Fukumura, M.D. (Massachusetts General Hospital)

The immune system's complexity has ushered in advanced technologies and treatments for cancer. In particular, immunotherapy has become one of the frontrunners for cancer research and a main focus for clinical trials. However, researchers are continuously trying to understand the specific mechanisms behind the success and failure of immunotherapy in cancer treatment. In order to understand why different forms of immunotherapy work for specific cancers and patient populations, researchers must investigate the tumor microenvironment, or TME. A tumor's microenvironment includes the surrounding vessels, enzymes, immune cells, molecules, and much more. In particular, at the Fukumura Lab at MGH, our team is focusing on the TME with a focus on CD8+ and CD4+ killer T-cells. We are asking the question in regards to why the levels of these specific cells fluctuate with factors such as obesity, vessel perfusion, and exercise. Additionally, we are studying the link between substantial exercise in breast cancer tumor models and the increase in metabolic pathways in relation to CD8+/CD4+. By analyzing these pathways through RNA sequencing and other protocols, we are able to pinpoint specific pathways that are upregulated in the TME. The Fukumura lab has also investigated blood vessel formation during adipogenesis.

Figure 1 Source: Source:
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