Dr. Garber’s group is part of a multi-institutional team investigating TP53 as a preventative vaccine target in BRCA1-associated breast cancers. The overarching hypothesis of the project is that progression of BRCA1-associated pre-invasive to invasive cancer is driven by the immune environment and that p53 is a reasonable target for immunization in BRCA1 mutant tumors. They hypothesize that initially there is a protective immune response that eradicates early tumors. With time there is a shift to a more immunosuppressive state which allows immune escape and invasive tumor development. Dr. Garber’s group is identifying recurrent tumor antigens other than mutant p53 in BRCA1-mutant neoplasia. To achieve this, they are working with the Broad Institute to sequence tumors and normal surrounding tissue. The entire team is part of the effort to assemble a collection of archived breast tissues from BRCA1 mutation carriers and working to characterize the immune microenvironment of invasive and in situ breast tumors in cancer gene mutation carriers.
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