Understanding and addressing immune system malfunctions in advanced colon cancer

Monday 24 June 2024, 10:30 am
PhD candidate
B. Monsanto de Campos de Brito Subtil
prof. dr. A. Cambi, prof. dr. I.J.M. de Vries
dr. D.V.F. Tauriello

Colorectal cancer ranks as the second deadliest worldwide. Understanding how cancer cells interact with the immune system is crucial for tackling cancer's spread and treatment challenges. This thesis delved into the impact of cancer cells on dendritic cells (DCs), the immune system’s sentinels that rally other immune cells against tumors. In advanced colon cancer, DCs often malfunction, weakening the body's defense against cancer. By putting together tumor organoids—miniature versions of a patient's tumor—and DCs, this research uncovered specific changes in DCs caused by tumors. It explored why these cells malfunction and suggested ways to restore their function, offering potential targets for therapy. This work brings us closer to using advanced 3D models to study tumors and develop new treatment strategies, empowering the immune system to better combat cancer.

Beatriz Subtil, born in Lisbon in 1996, obtained her Master’s degree in Medical Biotechnology at Wageningen University in 2019. From 2020 to 2024, she performed her PhD research at the Cell Biology and Tumor Immunology departments of the Radboudumc.  Currently, she is continuing her research as a Postdoctoral researcher at the same group.