James Van DeventerNew approaches to the selective targeting of cancer-associated fibroblasts

The tumor microenvironment provides indispensable support for cancerous lesions and therefore has gained attention as a therapeutic target in the treatment of cancer. In particular, fibroblasts are actively recruited to the tumor stroma and appear to be heavily involved in communications with tumor cells, disease progression, and perhaps even evasion of the host immune system. We are investigating methods to selectively target fibroblasts in the tumor stroma. Our approach involves the development of protein-based reagents that selectively target fibroblasts and the use of these reagents to study the biology of interactions between fibroblasts and tumor cells in the tumor microenvironment. Furthermore, we expect that some of our reagents will serve as leads for the development of new cancer therapeutics.