James Welsh, M.D. and his team are committed to finding new therapies for combating solid thoracic tumors, particularly lung cancers. Their research focuses on reactivating the immune system and utilizing it as an in situ vaccine along with radiation in order to battle not just the tumor site, but the microenvironment that it creates. The Welsh Lab believes that this is the key to suppressing local and distant disease, which could have applications in not just lung cancer, but other solid tumors such as breast, prostrate and pancreatic.
A diagnosis of cancer greatly impacts a patient’s life and his or her loved ones. Welsh and his team are:
- discovering new pathways for immunotherapy checkpoints
- investigating molecular targets
- running clinical trials combining concurrent radiation with recently FDA-approved immunotherapy drugs, such as ipilimumab and nivolumab
The goal of the Welsh Lab is to pioneer combinatory immunotherapy and radiation to create a systemic treatment for all types of metastatic disease.
The Welsh team sees the potential of radiation therapy as a form of localized tumor control, but also its potential for reactivating the immune system to serve as an in situ vaccine that promotes anti-tumor immunity. With this in mind, the Welsh Laboratory investigates the phenomenon known as the abscopal effect, in which radiation administered locally can also promote distant sites of non-irradiated tumors to respond.
Can the power of radiation be harnessed to also treat systemic cancers? What is the optimal set of conditions that create a reproducible abscopal effect in every patient with thoracic malignancies? These are some of the questions that Welsh and his team are working to answer.
Life in the Lab
Welsh lab group photo
Angelica, Ailin and Mina waiting for their samples to run on the gel electrophoresis machine
Jon doing cell culture work
Alex using the nanodrop for her experiment
Angelica and Mina preparing PCR reactions
HB prepares a falcon tube for centrifugation
HB, Angelica and Mina discuss experimental results