We have seen a paradigm shift in the treatment of cancer, in which tumor cells are not necessarily targeted directly with chemotherapy, but rather immune and normal cells are engaged to curb and eradicate malignancy. The primary mission of the Tumor Microenvironment Center (TMC) is to foster a holistic, integrated, and mechanistic understanding of the altered environment of cancer, which consists of a diverse and heterogeneous mixture of cancer, stromal, and immune tissue. The ultimate goal is to improve the treatment of cancer patients through enhanced understanding of the complex nature of cancer tissue.
The TMC represents a synergistic environment that would bring together experts in disciplines of immunology, cancer biology, cell/stromal biology, and systems biology with a common focus: the tumor microenvironment. TMC scientists not only deepen our understanding of basic biology, but also collaborate directly with cancer physicians to bring new treatment modalities to the clinic.
The TMC is highly interactive, both intra- and inter-programmatically, including recruiting new faculty members, to promote integrative and transdisciplinary research. It is anticipated that the Center will continue to play a pivotal role in identifying novel microenvironmental targets for therapeutic intervention that will be tested in combination with more conventional treatments in patients with a variety of cancers.
Further, the TMC will act as a clinical trial springboard, to both develop the most innovative forms of treatment for cancer patients and also bring those clinical insights back to the bench for deeper discovery.