The genetic basis of immune escape and its clinical relevance in lymphoid cancers

Lymphomas are a group of cancers derived from white blood cells. This project focuses on how some lymphomas carry mutations that render the immune system unable to recognize and destroy them.

We have recently described a gene named CIITA that is mutated in certain lymphomas. CIITA plays a major role in regulating the production of proteins on the surface of cells that allow cells of the immune system to recognize them. Mutations in CIITA can lead to a reduction in these proteins so the cancerous cells are not controlled by the immune system.

We will use DNA sequencing to explore genetic changes within CIITA in a large number of tumour samples from lymphoma patients. We will compare these genetic findings with the clinical data from the patients and look for survival trends. We will also use cell lines and mouse models to investigate the impact of CIITA mutations on tumour biology.

Ultimately, we hope to unveil novel mechanisms that will help build the foundation for the development of new diagnostic tests and/or therapeutic strategies.