Clint T. Allen, M.D., Principal Investigator
The Section on Translational Tumor Immunology focuses on immunologic aspects of cancer development and progression, with a focus on head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, the most common form of head and neck cancer.
To study head and neck cancer, we use syngeneic models of oral cavity cancer that allows the study of both cancer cells themselves and how they interact with immune cells in tumors. The goals of our lab are 1) to understand how standard-of-care and investigational anti-cancer treatments alter cancer cells to make them more or less susceptible to immune cell killing, and 2)to understand how these same drugs alter the ability of immunosuppressive cells within the tumor microenvironment to block effective anti-tumor immunity. Ultimately, this will lead to a better understanding of how to combine drugs that both kill tumor cells and enhance the body’s natural anti-tumor immune response. Using this information, several clinical trials aimed at improving response to therapy and survival in patients with head and neck cancer are being developed.
Our work also aims to translate key knowledge learned from our investigation into anti-tumor immunity to other diseases in otolaryngology, including inflammatory and infectious disorders.