Award Recipient 
Charlotte and Leo Karassik Foundation Oncology Postdoctoral Fellowship 2016

Mechanisms of CD8+ T cell immunosuppression in triple negative breast cancers

September 2016 

Based on 2010 estimates from the Canadian Cancer Society, about 1 in 9 Canadian women is expected to develop breast cancer during her lifetime and 1 in 30 will die from it. Triple Negative Breast Cancers (TNBC) represent 15-20% of all diagnosed breast cancers and show poor prognosis. A huge improvement is possible concerning this area of research and will directly impact a large number of patients.

The laboratory of Dr. Park recently developed innovative in vivo models recapitulating the features of TNBC. These share many features found in human triple negative breast cancers including immune cells infiltration heterogeneity and novel subtypes. Immunotherapies boost the anti tumor immune system and have showed very promising results on many cancers including the TNBC where 20% of patients are good responders to the therapy.

Our project will help identify the fine mechanisms by which the immune system reacts to the tumor and, importantly, how the tumor impairs an efficient immune response. This will allow us to directly identify key players to target in order to sensitize TNBC to immunotherapy.

Tina Gruosso
Goodman Cancer Research Centre, McGill University
Postdoctoral fellow, Laboratory of Dr. Morag Park