UW General Surgery Resident Explains T Cell Immunotherapy in Fibrolamellar Carcinoma

Kevin Sullivan, M.D.

Kevin Sullivan, M.D., is a General Surgery Resident at the University of Washington, and is taking time off from his residency to act as a fellow for the Fibrolamellar Cancer Foundation (FCF). As the principal investigator in a study of T cell immunotherapy in fibrolamellar cancer, he was awarded a grant to use a variety of techniques to evaluate which types of immune cells reside within a fibrolamellar tumor.

In this video, he discusses why he and his group have an interest in this space, as well as what challenges he’s had in working with a rare cancer type.

Sullivan: We’re interested in – because this fusion protein, this potential source of abnormal peptides or small pieces of protein that can be recognized by the immune system – we’re interested in finding out what the landscape of the immune system is in this tumor and, specifically, as it relates to T-cells. We want to be able to take markers and stains – up to six at once – to take high-quality images and analyze them for relationships between different types of cells, as well as get a sense of and do some sequencing for the T-cell receptors that are there, and see if there’s one particular one that’s expanding because of a specific response to the tumor.

I think the biggest issue has been trying to, because of the rarity of the disease, get fresh tumor samples. We have archived samples that we’re able to do a good number of work on, but in order to take the next steps in our plans, we need fresh tumor which, unfortunately, I think is hard to come by, but has helped the research. That’s the reason we’re here; to help collaborate and share with other groups.


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