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Effect of Hypoxia on Resistance to Immunotherapy

Hi! My name is Lexi and the focus of my research was hypoxia in the tumor microenvironment. I wanted to understand how oxygenation correlates to the efficacy of immunotheraputics such as chimeric antigen receptor-T (CAR-T) cells. Differentially expressed genes (DEGs) can also help determine the severity of hypoxia in patient-specific cases. This allows doctors to better target treatments using what is known as an in-silico approach.
High School
Phillips Exeter Academy
Graduation Year
Student review
I was very surprised by how in-depth I was able to take my research and the level or rigor the program allowed me to achieve.

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Project description

Tumor formation requires rapid proliferation of malignant cells, which consume large amounts of oxygen from the microenvironment to meet metabolic demands. The resulting tumor microenvironment (TME) is usually low in oxygen compared to healthy tissue and left in a hypoxic state. Immune cells in the tissue rely on oxygen for energy production, therefore immune function is often inhibited in the TME. Novel immunotherapy treatments aim to reinvigorate the immune system, thus making hypoxia a concrete barrier against immunotherapeutics targeting solid tumors. Furthermore, oxygen levels are highly variable depending on the tissue, raising the question of the influence of physoxia on immune cell survival in hypoxic counterparts. This review aims to provide insight into the mechanisms that influence this question, using an in-silico approach, in order to understand how the field can improve immunotherapy treatments for patients.

Effect of Hypoxia on Resistance to Immunotherapy
Project outcome

Submitted to the High School Journal of Student Research for Publication Consideration

Doctor of Philosophy
Biology, Immunology, Virology
Immunology, virology, genetic engineering
Mentor review

My mentor was very knowledgeable about my topic and able to explain everything thoroughly and provided me with other tools to help me picture what was going on.