Boston University School of Medicine
Assistant Professor, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
American Association for Cancer Research
Seeking to improve anti-tumor immune response in metastatic breast cancer.
Breast cancer cells can travel from the site of initial tumor development to other sites in the body, a process called metastasis. Lymph nodes, often the first site of metastatic spread, are abundant in T cells that can kill cancer cells, but cancer cells have developed several ways to escape death by T cells. To eradicate cancer cells, T cells need access to the tumors, and blood vessels play a crucial role in this process. Tumor growth can compress blood vessels, impairing their ability to transport blood and possibly block T cell access to the tumor. For his AACR research supported by BCRF, Dr. Jones is working to increase T cell infiltration of tumors and enhance anti-tumor immunity to improve survival rates in patients with advanced metastatic breast cancer.
Dr. Jones has developed models of breast cancer metastasis and has optimized methods to perform long-term imaging of cellular interactions in lymph nodes. He and his team engineered T-cells that bind specifically to a molecule on a cancer cell surface and successfully tested their ability to eliminate tumor cells in breast cancer models.
Next, Dr. Jones will determine engineered T cell efficacy against breast tumors. A significant challenge to using T cell therapy in solid tumors such as breast cancer is the short-term activity and inability of the T cells to expand in the area of the tumor. Dr. Jones aims to study the expansion of the T cells in a breast cancer model and enhance their effectiveness, which would be a significant advancement in modeling challenges to treat these tumor types.
Dennis Jones, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine. He earned a doctorate in immunobiology at Yale University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital in tumor biology where he focused on the growth of cancer cells in lymph nodes.
Dr. Jones’ laboratory at Boston University School of Medicine focuses on delineating the mechanisms by which breast cancers evade immune surveillance in lymph nodes and metastasize to distant organs. Dr. Jones has won numerous awards, including the AACR Minority and Minority-serving Institution Faculty Scholar in Cancer Research Award, a STAT Wunderkind, and an NIH Transition Career Development Award (K22).
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