FHS Seminar Series - Evolutionary dynamics of the immune response to cancer: Implications for immunotherapy

by Dr. Brad Nelson, Co-Director, Immunotherapy Program, BC Cancer and Professor of Medical Genetics at UBC

October 25, 2018

Event Type

Seminar Series


October 25, 2018 at 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm


Blusson Hall, Room 9920


Tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) are associated with survival in virtually every human cancer, but the mechanisms by which they confer protective immunity remain incompletely understood. Focusing on ovarian cancer, our group applies genomic and molecular pathology approaches to define the mechanisms by which the human immune system responds to the evolving tumor genome over space and time. We find that optimal anti-tumor immunity involves interactions between T cells and antibody-producing B-lineage cells in the tumor microenvironment. We have evidence that T cell clones track tumor clones over space and time and apply selective pressure that leads to reduced tumor clone diversity and progressive loss of immune recognition through several mechanisms. Our findings suggest new strategies to overcome these challenges through T cell engineering and other approaches. Toward this goal, I will discuss BC Cancer’s new clinical trials program focused on T cell engineering strategies for gynecological and lymphoid cancers.


Dr. Brad Nelson is a native of Vancouver, BC. He received his B.Sc. from the University of British Columbia in 1987 and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1991. He completed postdoctoral training with Dr. Phil Greenberg and held faculty positions at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and University of Washington in Seattle. In 2003, he became the founding Director of the BC Cancer’s Deeley Research Centre in Victoria BC. He is also a Professor of Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Nelson’s lab uses genomic and molecular approaches to study the immune response to cancer. He is leading a phase I clinical trials program focused on adoptive T cell therapy for gynecological cancers, leukemia, lymphoma, and other malignancies.


  • This Seminar Series is open to the SFU and the Broader Research Community.  
  • This seminar may be webcast and recorded.
  • A light lunch will be available at this seminar.  
  • The FHS Research Seminar Series is an Accredited Small Group Learning by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons.