Advances at Mass General Cancer Center

Advances at Mass General Cancer Center is our electronic publication that highlights our investigators’ recent publications in high-profile journals.

Current Article

Antitumor Immunity and Its Evasion by Tumors

How do tumors evolve to evade the immune response? Download this article

Contributors

  • Nir Hacohen, PhD

    Director, Cancer Immunotherapy at Mass General Cancer Center; Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School & Broad Institute

  • Gad Getz, PhD

    Director, Bioinformatics, Mass General Cancer Center and Department of Pathology; Paul C. Zamecnik Chair in Oncology, Mass General Cancer Center; Director, Cancer Genome Computational Analysis, Broad Institute Member, Broad Institute Associate Professor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School

 

While some patients with cancer mount a strong immune response against their tumors, most have no significant immune response against these invaders. Little is known, however, about what genetic and environmental factors shape an individual tumor’s response to the immune system, or about how the tumor and the immune system interact at a cellular and molecular level.

Nir Hacohen, PhD, director of the Center for Cancer Immunotherapy at Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, and Gad Getz, PhD, director of bioinformatics at Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and Department of Pathology, who directs the Cancer Genome Computational Analysis group at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, have found the first large-scale evidence showing two things. First, mutated peptides that are presented on the surface of human tumors are recognized by T cells, and the tumor cells harboring these mutations are killed by T cells. Second, tumors evolve mutations that confer resistance to the immune system under pressure from killer T cells. Published in the January 15, 2015, issue of Cell, the findings show how T cells exert selection pressures on a tumor, influencing its genetic composition and future susceptibility to the immune system.(1) These and related discoveries have already paved the way to novel treatments. Continue Reading

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Podcast Series

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This podcast is a companion to Mass General Cancer Center’s electronic publication, and both are centered around our investigators' recent publications in high-profile journals. Each expert will give you insight into who they are and what inspires them to do what they do every day. A deeper dive into their research will better your understanding of where our experts’ ideas come from, where they will go from here, and what the future has in store in their particular field of research.

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2017 Past Articles

June 2017

A New Therapeutic Target for Pancreatic Cancer

Can better understanding an epigenetic pathway lead to clues in one of the most lethal cancers? Download this article

Contributor

  • Raul Mostoslavsky, MD, PhD

    Principal Investigator, Mostoslavsky Laboratory, and Kristine and Bob Higgins Mass General Hospital Research Scholar, Mass General Hospital Cancer Center; Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) accounts for 90% of all pancreatic cancers, and is one of the most lethal cancers in humans. PDAC is characterized by mutant KRAS, a gene involved in regulating cell division, but little is known about the molecular processes governing initiation, progression and metastasis in PDAC. As a consequence, no good new therapeutic targets have been identified for the cancer in three decades. Despite active research in this field, standard chemotherapy remains the primary treatment available for PDAC, and survival rates are under 5% after a year. Continue Reading

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Contact

Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center
55 Fruit Street | LRH 200
Boston, MA 02114

MGHAdvancesinCancer@partners.org

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