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Our Research

In Vivo Tracing Studies


Cell-based immunotherapy has shown promising results for melanoma and B cell lymphoma but has limited efficacy in cancers that form solid tumours, such as ovarian cancer. One mechanism of immunosuppression in solid tumours is the limited availability of nutrients in the tumour microenvironment. How immune cells adapt their metabolism to these restrictions is not well studied in human tumours due to the limitations of working with ex vivo samples. Using ascites as a surrogate source for tumour cells, a direct in vivo analysis of glucose metabolism will help us understand the metabolism of cells in the tumour microenvironment. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to use labeled glucose tracing to delineate the metabolic pathways that are used by T cells and tumour cells in the ascites of ovarian cancer patients. Using this knowledge, we hope to improve clinical responses to immunotherapy by targeting metabolic pathways as a means to enhance T cell responses to the tumour. 

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Gut Microbiome

• In breast Cancer
• Intermittent fasting in leukemia
• During immune checkpoint inhibitor treatment (Cascadia)

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Canadian women. Estrogen is known to cause the most prevalent type of breast cancer, hormone receptor (HR) positive, but how it does so is not fully understood. Bacteria in the gut (the gut microbiome) can control estrogen levels through differences in the type and amount of bacteria present and changing estrogen levels may lead to breast cancer. Therefor we will identify the types of bacteria and their by products present in your stool, which will help us understand how your gut microbiota might influence estrogen levels. Our results will be an important first step towards identifying aspects of the gut microbiome that might reduce the risk of breast cancer. 

Our Publications

  1. Zhang HF, Klein Geltink RI, Parker SJ, Sorensen PH. Transsulfuration, minor player or crucial for cysteine homeostasis in cancer. Trends Cell Biol. 2022 Mar 29:S0962-8924(22)00060-5. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2022.02.009.

  2. Zhang HF, Hughes CS, Li W, He JZ, Surdez D, El-Naggar AM, Cheng H, Prudova A, Delaidelli A, Negri GL, Li X, Ørum-Madsen MS, Lizardo MM, Oo HZ, Colborne S, Shyp T, Scopim-Ribeiro R, Hammond CA, Dhez AC, Langman S, Lim JKM, Kung SHY, Li A, Steino A, Daugaard M, Parker SJ, Geltink RIK, Orentas RJ, Xu LY, Morin GB, Delattre O, Dimitrov DS, Sorensen PH. Proteomic Screens for Suppressors of Anoikis Identify IL1RAP as a Promising Surface Target in Ewing Sarcoma. Cancer Discov. 2021 Nov;11(11):2884-2903. doi: 10.1158/2159-8290.CD-20-1690. 

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