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, and many patients do not respond to current immune therapies designed to boost anti-tumor immune response. 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 T cell entry. Dr. Jones is working to increase T cell entry into tumors to ultimately enhance anti-tumor immunity and 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 will use these imaging methods to measure whether decompression of lymph node blood vessels enhances T cell entry into nodal tumors. Then, Dr. Jones will measure the ability of genetically engineered cancer-specific T cells to enter and eradicate tumors. His breast cancer model studies will be validated on tissues from breast cancer patients treated with decompression therapies. Finally, he will combine decompression therapy with immune therapy and will measure the impact on metastatic progression. Administering this combination therapy has the potential to improve the killing ability of T cells entering lymph node tumors and decrease tumor burden.
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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