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Head and neck cancers (HNC) present as different diseases, either externally on the skin or internally in the mouth and throat. Treatment consists of surgery, chemo-radiation and/or immunotherapy. Surgery and chemo-radiation are associated with long-term morbidity, while immunotherapy benefits only ~30% of patients and is very expensive. To improve patient outcomes, Dr. Janin Chandra will investigate mechanisms of therapy resistance – to identity targets and develop new treatments for patients not responding to therapy. Current immunotherapies aim to reinvigorate pre-existing immune responses. In patients where such pre-existing immune responses don’t exist, the tumour is practically invisible to the patients’ defence system. Resistance to immunotherapy can be caused either by an absence of such pre-existing immune responses, or by the tumour constructing a shield that blocks immune cell entry into the tumour nest. This shield is typically built by a cell type called fibroblasts. Dr. Janin Chandra innovative research program aims to discover why some HNC patients don’t have pre-existing responses to the tumour, how tumour invisibility can be overcome, and how the tumour shield that blocks immune cell entry can be broken.