The McAllister Laboratory focuses on dissecting the molecular and cellular mechanisms that regulate the immune responses to tumor initiation and progression with the goal of designing novel effective strategies to prevent and treat cancer.
During tumor initiation and development, immune cells establish a dynamic and close interaction with the neoplastic epithelium as well as with the fibrotic stroma, affecting tumor behavior. Ultimately, tumor behavior affects immune responses. Gaining further knowledge on this interaction will inform us on how to build more effective novel strategies for prevention and treatment of pancreatic cancer.
Our laboratory has taken two approaches to investigate these issues:
1. Use of genetically-engineered mouse (GEM) models that mimic the development of human pancreatic cancer to dissect the role of immune cells in the regulation of cancer development.
- Generation of GEM-immune reporter mice with the goal of performing multi-parametric cell sorting on particular types of immune cells at early and late stage of tumorigenesis for transcriptome analysis and for imaging studies aimed to determine cellular location and dynamics.
- Utilization of bone marrow transplantation to test the functionality of specific immune cells or molecules in GEM models of pancreatic cancer.
2. Molecular characterization of the immune and epithelial human cells obtained from patients with pre-neoplastic lesions and pancreatic cancer to confirm the human significance of the experimental findings and as a discovery platform.
Florencia McAllister, M.D.
Tumor Immunology and Cancer Biology Graduate Programs
MD Anderson Cancer Center
Dept. of Clinical Cancer Prevention & Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology
Basic Sciences Research Building (BSRB)
6767 Bertner Ave.
Houston, TX 77030
Lab Phone: 713-745-4491