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Peter P. Lee, MD

Billy and Audrey L. Wilder Endowed Professor
Chair, Cancer and Immunotherapeutics and Tumor Immunology
City of Hope
Duarte, California
EIF/Stand Up To Cancer

Current Research

  • Studies are aimed at improving the effectiveness of immunotherapy by studying the tumor ecosystem.
  • A Stand Up To Cancer Convergence team applies a multi-disciplinary approach to tumor biology.
  • This collaborative research will lead to approaches that modify the tumor environment to improve prevention and treatment outcomes.

Tumors grow in a diverse environment comprised of a variety of cells types, which make up the tumor microenvironment – TME. This environment can either promote or suppress tumor growth, but often times, tumor cells co-opt normal cells to their advantage. The Stand Up to Cancer/BCRF project team utilizes a variety of technologies and research approaches to understand the interactions between tumor cells and normal cells to identify potential therapeutic and prevention strategies.

Full Research Summary

Tumors consist not only of cancer cells, but also stromal and immune cells that constitute the tumor microenvironment (TME). The TME is an ecosystem of multiple cell populations, and the extracellular matrix (ECM) that they produce, that interact in a complex fashion to yield tissue form and function.

The SU2C team brings together expertise in high dimensional histology, image analysis, culturing cells from primary human breast tumors, 3D spheroids, bioinformatics, ecology modeling, and nanotechnology to study the ecology of the TME in breast cancer and develop therapeutic and imaging applications.

During the course of the BCRF-supported research, the SU2C team profiled stromal cells and epithelial cells from normal breast reduction samples. By comparing the profiles of normal cells from BRCA1 carriers to non-BRCA carriers, they found early changes in cell compositions as well as molecular alterations in the mammoplasty reduction tissues of BRCA1 carriers. 

In the coming year, they will identify factors that promote the proliferation of mammary epithelial cells from BRCA1 carriers and test which pathways are critical for malignant growth. 

These studies will help underscore players involved in the heterogeneity of BRCA1-associated breast cancer as well as the identification of potential targets for cancer intervention.


Dr. Lee trained in clinical immunology at University of California, San Francisco and hematology at Stanford University. He was a tenured faculty member at Stanford before joining City of Hope in 2011, where he is now the Billy and Audrey L. Wilder Endowed Professor in Cancer Immunotherapeutics and Chair of the Cancer and Immunotherapeutics & Tumor Immunology (CITI) Department. Dr. Lee has over 70 peer-reviewed publications and trained over 20 pre- and postdoctoral fellows. He is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI), and recipient of Damon Runyon Scholar Award (Connie and Bob Lurie Scholar), American Cancer Society Research Scholar Award, Dept. of Defense Era of Hope Scholar Award for Breast Cancer Research, Dept. of Defense Multi-Team Award for Breast Cancer Research, and Dept. of Defense Era of Hope Expansion Award for Breast Cancer Research.

Grid Researcher Headshot - Lee

BCRF Investigator Since


Area(s) of Focus