Compartmentalized and Systemic Interactions of the Skin Microbiome in Cancer Immunotherapy Response

ASPIRE Award

Skin cancer represents a huge health burden with increasing incidence. The response of an individual to immunotherapy for skin cancer is highly variable, and the source of this variability is largely unknown. Microbiota living on the skin likely interact with immunotherapeutics and influence the outcomes of these treatments in skin cancer. Key to understanding how these interactions take place is determining the impact of local microbiota on the systemic immune system. Dr. Julia Oh of The Jackson Laboratory is working to uncover how skin microbiota interact with the immune system and how this interaction influences the effectiveness of immunotherapy for skin cancer. The team profiles the skin and gut microbiomes of patients with skin cancer to determine associations with treatment outcomes using novel computational platforms. Through those analyses they aim to identify key bacteria of the microbiome that enhance or inhibit skin cancer immunotherapy. Microbes selected from skin cancer patients are also being studied in a mouse model of skin cancer to better understand how those microbes influence immunotherapy treatment outcomes. If successful, the project will provide new insights into skin cancer biology and lead to improved therapeutic regimens for skin cancer patients.