Stand Up To Cancer - Research Areas: Cancer Immunology

Research Areas

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Stand Up To Cancer research spans a range of approaches and treatments. From cancer prevention and interception to epigenetics and immunotherapy, SU2C’s multifaceted research teams and investigations are focused on the most innovative approaches to bring more effective therapies to patients quickly, to increase survivorship and to improve quality of life for cancer patients and survivors.

As SU2C revolutionizes cancer research, the investigations it supports have the potential to transform the treatment of cancers in both adults and children.



Immunology uses the power of the patient’s own immune system to attack cancer. Since inception, SU2C has focused on developing new immunotherapies to treat cancer, and has been an early supporter of combination approaches to immunotherapy. Our investigators are hard at work to understand how to make immunotherapy effective for more people and how to mitigate side effects from the treatment.


The DNA in every one of our cells gets damaged over and over each day. Our cells have multiple systems to fix that damage, but in some cancers one of these systems is broken and has to rely on a “back up” system to survive. Investigators are looking at ways to cut off these alternate DNA damage repair mechanisms to cripple already compromised cancer cells.


Sometimes it’s not what is in our DNA that counts, but how the DNA is used. Epigenetics is the study of how genes are turned on and off in ways that promote or inhibit the development of cancer.


New approaches to cancer research are taking advantage of advances in technology, including new laboratory methods, better scanning/imaging equipment and the incorporation of artificial intelligence to analyze complex data sets.


SU2C focuses innovative research efforts on pediatric cancer, using groundbreaking methods such as immunotherapy and immunogenomics – looking at how tumor cells and immune cells react to each other and evolve over time – to develop new therapies for high-risk childhood cancers. SU2C-supported research contributed to two FDA approvals to treat certain blood cancers in children, including the CAR T-cell therapy, and a new approved use for a drug which mitigates the potentially severe or even life-threatening side effects of this treatment in some of the children. SU2C researchers also created a new tool that can predict which patients are likely to experience serious side effects so that their care team can be ready to react as soon as those effects might appear.


Interception is the idea of finding and attacking cancer at its earliest stages when it is easiest to treat. Most treatments are designed for fully developed tumors, so new approaches to diagnosis and treatment are needed to attack young, emerging cancer cells.


If you are a researcher looking for funding to carry out impactful and innovative research, sign up below for updates on grant opportunities, and follow @SU2CScience on Twitter.

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Stand Up To Cancer strongly encourages novel, collaborative, and high-impact proposals. Proposals submitted in response to Requests for Applications (RFAs) are rigorously reviewed, and the most promising, exciting projects are selected by panels of expert investigators.


SU2C’s diverse research teams host clinical trials to achieve their goal of bringing treatments to patients at an accelerated pace. More than 270 clinical trials have been planned, started or completed by SU2C-supported researchers. Learn more about clinical trials and how to participate.



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