The Rongvaux Lab studies innate immunity in humans and in mice.
The innate immune response represents the very first step in the development of a protective response after exposure to a pathogen, stress or injury. But dysregulation of this response can contribute to the pathogenesis of inflammatory diseases or to the progression of cancer.
Our lab is studying how dying cells interact with the immune system and affect the outcome of the immune response, and how macrophages contribute to the tumor microenvironment and affect tumor development.
To address these questions, we are developing specific models of genetically-modified mice, including “humanized mouse” models that allow us to translate our findings to pre-clinical conditions.
Investigators in The Program in Immunology are learning how immune cells respond to disease and how to safely enhance immune responses to better control, cure and potentially prevent cancers and other serious diseases. Nobel Prize-winning work on bone marrow transplantation began in the 1960s at the Fred Hutch, and provided the first definitive example of the immune system’s curative power. Fred Hutch researchers went on to show that donor immune T cells play a major role in successful transplant outcomes. In the 1990s, Program in Immunology investigators proved that antigen-specific T cells can be isolated, expanded in the laboratory and adoptively transferred to patients to augment T cell immunity. Techniques have since been developed to genetically engineer T cells to enhance their survival and their anti-cancer activities. And, studies are now showing how to use other types of immune cells to boost therapeutic immune responses. With our depth and breadth of expertise, we are advancing a detailed understanding of immunological processes and developing revolutionary immunotherapies to fight disease.