The use of FDA-approved immunotherapies to treat metastatic melanoma and lung cancer has reignited the interest and examination of similar approaches for other cancers, including breast and pancreatic cancer, both considered “immunologically cold” and for which immunotherapy treatments have achieved limited success. Most of the focus has been on understanding the biological mechanisms of the different immunotherapeutics, while deciphering the physical spatio-temporal peculiarities and aberrations of tumors (e.g., poor lymphocyte infiltration, biophysical determinants of immunosuppression in tumor microenvironment, spatial distribution of cells and nutrients), and their interplay remain largely unexplored. Thus, we approach the study and design of cancer immunotherapeutic strategies from the perspective of multiscale transport phenomena. Within this conceptual framework, the Center for Immunotherapeutic Transport Oncophysics (CITO) focuses on the following:
- understanding transport phenomena and limitations of immune cells and immunotherapeutics;
- establishing a precision immunotherapeutics framework on the basis of transport oncophysics; and
- exploiting oncophysical transport-based cues for the development of successful personalized immunotherapeutic strategies based on transport phenotypes.