Cancer Immunology

TIME and tailored therapies

The Cruz Lab is interested in cancer immunology; in particular the immunology of the tumour microenvironment.

The immune context of the tumor microenvironment (TIME) profoundly influences tumor progression and clinical outcome. In many cases the character and quality of tumor immune infiltrates correlates with the clinical outcome of immune check point inhibitors (ICB), including disease-free survival and relapse-free survival. As technology has advanced, so has our understanding of TIME complexity, resulting in an improved capacity to classify and correlate different TIME types with disease initiation and response to treatment.

Our group hypothesizes that understanding the crosstalk between cancer and immune cells is key to both, predict response to ICB and disease evolution, and design new treatment regimens tailored to each patient’s own disease. To do so, we use Spatial Multi-Omics technologies to generate high-resolution TIME data from Head and Neck (H&N) tumors and thus identify tissue hallmarks and relationships that are not accessible to traditional proteomics and genomic technologies. Furthermore, uncovering fundamental ligand-receptor interactions has the potential for discovering novel targetable pathways that can substantially expand clinical practitioners’ and patients’ H&N treatment options.