This training program is designed to train the next generation of scientists in Cancer Immunology at the Dana- Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, a Harvard-wide, NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. Recent clinical trials have demonstrated that cancer immunotherapy can induce durable responses in patients with diverse types of advanced cancer. The discovery that targeting of a single inhibitory receptor on immune cells can unleash durable anti-tumor immunity has far-reaching implications for oncology and raises many fascinating questions about the biological mechanisms that regulate anti-tumor immunity. The resulting rapid growth in the field of cancer immunology has created a significant need for scientists with in depth expertise at the interface of immunology and tumor biology. To address this need, we have built a comprehensive program supported by faculty who bring a wide spectrum of expertise in basic and translational cancer immunology. The preceptors of this grant have made a series of important contributions to cancer immunology and immunotherapy. We propose to appoint 2 predoctoral and 6 postdoctoral scientists per year. Our predoctoral trainees will be selected from a pool of students who have enrolled in the Immunology and Basic Biomedical Sciences Graduate Programs at Harvard Medical School. These students will be appointed after their second year of study once they have chosen one of our mentors as their thesis advisor and committed to a research topic in cancer immunology. The postdoctoral positions will be awarded to a select group of recent recipients of PhD and MD/PhD degrees and support their training in cancer immunology. Laboratory training in cancer immunology will be complemented by a didactic program that gives students the required background in cancer immunology and prepares them for independent careers in academic research, biotechnology or a broad range of other job opportunities. The program directors are highly committed to teaching and mentoring and have the required expertise to lead this effort. The Postdoctoral and Graduate Student Affairs Offices at Dana-Farber and Harvard Medical School provide a wide range of programs to all of our trainees designed to enhance their training experience and address individual needs. Retreats organized by the Harvard Immunology Program and the Department of Cancer Immunology and Virology at Dana-Farber will help to create a sense of community and give our trainees the opportunity to learn from other trainees and faculty.
The cancer immunology field has made tremendous progress in the past five years, and immunotherapy has become the standard of care for several cancers. The field is growing rapidly, creating the need to train the next generation of experts in this exciting frontier of oncology. The mission of this program is to prepare and advance the careers of predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees by providing them with in depth expertise in cancer immunology with the objective of developing new therapeutic approaches for the treatment of cancer.
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