Innate Lymphoid Cells and cancer

The progression of cancer is tightly regulated by the crosstalk between tumor cells and various components of the immune system, which either restrict or potentiate tumor growth. As crucial effectors of immune responses, Innate Lymphoid Cells (ILCs) have been distinctly associated with tumor-promoting as well as tumor-suppressive activities. This dichotomy arises from the high degree of heterogeneity and plasticity between the ILC family subsets. The peripheral organs, for example, are populated by unique ILC subsets that engage in different, specialized effector functions. Our research aims to understand whether these subsets play a differential role in tumor growth and metastatic dissemination. In addition, we investigate how ILCs interact with other cell types within the tumor microenvironment. Gaining a better understanding of the multifaceted roles of ILCs in cancer will allow us to develop novel strategies to manipulate their responses against this fatal disease.

Our main interests are:

  1.     To systematically analyze and target ILC subsets to better understand their role in cancer.
  2.     To study the interactions between ILC and tumor cells, with the aim to reveal mechanisms by which tumors evade ILC surveillance.
  3.     To identify key molecules necessary for the development and function of ILCs.

To address these issues, we integrate the use of relevant experimental models of cancer with cutting-edge technology such as multiparameter flow cytometry, CYTOF, microscopy, genome-editing, transcriptomics and metabolomics.