FHS Seminar Series - Fertilizing the metastatic soil: How hypoxia and immune suppressive cells influence the microenvironment in lungs and tumour-draining lymph nodes

by Dr. Kevin Bennewith, Senior Scientist, Department of Integrative Oncology, BC Cancer Agency & Associate Professor in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at UBC

April 04, 2019

Event Type

Seminar Series


April 04, 2019 at 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm


Blusson Hall, Room 9920


Immune suppressive cells play a crucial role in mediating peripheral tolerance, preventing autoimmunity, and limiting chronic inflammation in part by suppressing the expansion and activity of effector T cells. However, we and others have shown that immune suppressive cells (including myeloid-derived suppressor cells, macrophages, and regulatory T cells) can be recruited to primary tumours and metastatic target organs where these cells can promote tumour growth by producing growth factors and suppressing immune responses against the tumour cells. We are interested in understanding how primary tumours affect the accumulation and function of immune suppressive cells in the lungs with the goal of developing novel therapeutic strategies to treat metastatic cancer. This talk will focus on regulatory T cell (Treg) recruitment to the lungs and the influence of Tregs on metastatic tumour growth, including strategies to disrupt Treg accumulation and function to decrease metastatic tumour growth. Tumour-induced changes in the microenvironment within tumour-draining lymph nodes will also be discussed as it relates to anti-tumour immune responses.


Dr. Kevin Bennewith is a Senior Scientist at BC Cancer and an Associate Professor in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at UBC.  After completing his PhD at UBC studying poorly oxygenated (hypoxic) tumour cells, he pursued post-doctoral training at Stanford University where he studied the role of the hypoxia-induced secreted proteins connective tissue growth factor and lysyl oxidase in solid tumour growth and metastasis.  Dr. Bennewith’s current research interests include the role of hypoxic tumour cells in promoting resistance to cancer treatment, tumour progression, immune suppression, and metastasis.  Dr. Bennewith is a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar and research in his laboratory has been funded by the Terry Fox Foundation, the BC Cancer Foundation, the Cancer Research Society, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.


  • This Seminar Series is open to the SFU and the Broader Research Community.
  • This seminar will 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.