JAK-STAT pathway mutations in B-cell lymphomas: Implications for the tumour microenvironment and treatment failure

Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system where tumours develop from abnormal growths of white blood cells. Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas (NHL) are the fifth most common cancers diagnosed in Canada. Of those, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is the most common.

Numerous studies have furthered understanding of the internal chemical mechanisms of communication (signaling pathway) altered in malignant cells. However, the tumour is not only composed of cancer cells; the cancer cells are surrounded by a multitude of other cells and molecules (also known as the tumour microenvironment) that contribute to the development of the tumour. Although some improvement has been made in the treatment of lymphoma, current standard therapies still fail to cure a significant proportion of patients for which novel therapeutic agents have to be developed. More investigations are needed to discover new therapeutic targets that will lead to the development of more effective drugs to improve patient outcomes.

Dr. Viganò aims to fill these knowledge gaps in DLBCL development and treatment. In particular, her research will explore the influence of mutations in the Janus kinase-signal transducer and activation of transcription (JAK-STAT) signaling pathway on the tumour microenvironment. She will also investigate new biological targets to inform the development of novel therapies.