Dana-Farber Cancer Institute – Harvard Medical School
Modulating the immune system as an anti-cancer strategy has shown great promise in some types of cancer, however there has been limited responses in breast cancer. While the main focus of immunotherapy has been on the adaptive immune system, namely T cells, harnessing innate immune cells such as tumor associated macrophages (TAMs) offers a novel strategy to induce breast tumor regression. Breast tumors are highly infiltrated with suppressive TAMs and clinically, a high number of TAMs in breast tumors correlate with a worse overall prognosis and increased metastasis. Therefore, the proposed research focuses on understanding how TAMs contribute to the suppressive tumor microenvironment. A major goal of the project funded through the Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation is to reveal novel signaling pathways in TAMs that can be targeted therapeutically. The unique and novel clinical focus of harnessing macrophages has the potential to have a considerable impact in the treatment of breast cancer.
Dr. Guerriero received her bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from Northeastern University and has a PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology and Immunology and Pathology from Stony Brook University where she trained under Dr. Wei-Xing Zong and completed her thesis entitled, “A study of cell death pathways and innate immunity in cancer chemotherapy”. Dr. Guerriero completed her postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. Anthony Letai at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute where she investigated the role of tumor macrophages in breast cancer and identified novel mechanisms to target pro-tumor macrophages to an anti-tumor phenotype to induce tumor regression.
Dr. Guerriero is now an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School and is the Director of the Breast Tumor Immunology Laboratory at Dana-Farber Cancer-Institute. Her main focus is to bridge basic and translational breast cancer research and immunology with clinical science. She focuses on translating basic knowledge of how macrophages in the breast tumor microenvironment induce apoptosis of cancer cells, as well as identify how macrophages regulate their phenotype at a molecular level. A major goal is to harnessing the anti-tumor potential of tumor-associated macrophages for anti-cancer therapy in breast cancer.