Sarah Derks Group
GEA, genome-immunome intreactions, targeted-immunotherapy
My research focus is finding better therapies for patients with gastroesophageal cancer (GEA) by studying the biological foundation of the disease. As a physician scientist I use a bedsite-to bench approach and search solutions for clinical problems in the lab. In recent years it has become increasingly apparent that GEA occurs in distinct genomic subtypes with distinct immune infiltrates which influence response to classical immunotherapy. By using fresh tumor samples as well as big genome/transcriptome data and immunogenic GEA mouse models, my lab studies how GEA cells shape their immune microenvironment and how a pre-existing immune infiltrate influences response to standard therapy with the ultimate goal to identify novel targeted immunomodulatory strategies and improve survival of patients with this deadly disease.