Rita Fior, PhD
Tumor cells employ mechanisms that circumvent the immune response to grow and achieve further metastasis. This dynamic process is explained by the concept of cancer immunoediting, where some tumor cells variants have the capacity to escape the innate and adaptive immune system recognition, to then expand and hijack the host. Some tumor variants may protect less fit clones enabling immune evasion but then contribute to the whole tumor fitness, generating heterogeneous tumors with clones with different tumor traits. By combining live imaging, genetic and chemical tools we are studying the process of innate immune evasion and intra-tumoral clonal interactions using the zebrafish-larvae xenograft model. Understanding the process of innate immune rejection/ evasion may lead to new avenues of anti-cancer therapies based on modulating conserved innate immune mechanisms.