Award Recipient 
Canderel Studentship 2016

Identifying a Druggable Immunosuppressive Tumor Network in Triple Negative Breast Cancer

September 2016

As a recently graduated immunologist, I have been trained in understanding how individual surface proteins on immune cells can control the magnitude and quality of the immune response.

The immune response is diverse and fascinating: in the presence of infectious agents, the immune cells proliferate and mount an attack, while in other events such as pregnancy or graft transplantation, there is a complete paradigm shift with the immune system becoming tolerant. However, breast cancer cells are also seen to express these same immunological proteins and use similar mechanisms to evade the immune response, escape surveillance, and metastasize unchecked.

I aim to better understand this mechanism of immunosuppression and approach tumors immunology in another view, by identifying druggable and novel regulators of these immune molecules. I hope to further validate my current findings of these regulators that I have shown to not only regulate transcription of translation of immune molecules, but also simultaneously attenuate tumor proliferation. I also hope to further strengthen my findings in a breast cancer in vivo mouse model and repurpose FDA approved drugs for treatment, with a goal to rapidly translate our findings into clinical studies.

My studies will provide insights into the immunosuppressive network of breast cancer, a cancer that is the second leading cause of death in women in North America. By validating new modulatory targets, I hope to provide new treatment strategies to enhance current cancer immunotherapy, resulting in clinical benefits for cancer patients.

Tim Kong
Department of Biochemistry, McGill University
MSc Student, Laboratory of Dr. Sidong Huang