Reconstructing Regulatory Circuits Underlying T cell Function in Cancer
Tackling cancer by the engagement of one's own immune cells to attack a tumor is currently at the forefront of therapeutic development. One of the successful approaches involves rehabilitation of dysfunctional (exhausted) T cells within tumors so that they regain their full functional capacity. While highly successful, such approaches still fail for the majority of patients, raising the need to identify novel therapeutic targets through molecular characterization of the T cell functional states in tumors.
In this talk, I will describe our path to the discovery of a gene module that is specific to the dysfunctional T cells within a tumor, and how it enabled the identification of drivers of T cell populations. We will discuss computational approaches applied to high-throughout population and single-cell transcriptomics data, as well as the interplay between data analysis, hypothesis generation and experimental follow-up.