Pittet

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Mikael Pittet's Lab

My laboratory performs a research program on the host immune response in vivo with the main goal to offer valuable new ways to combat cancer. We use various modalities, including in vivo imaging, to study where, when and how immune cells are produced, traffic, and mediate regulatory or effector functions. The studies make use of both genetic mouse models, which allow manipulations and analyses of mechanisms and causality, and human patient material, to ensure that the results are anchored in clinical correlates. This dual approach gives opportunities for discovery of novel contributions of the immune response to tumor progression, new biomarkers useful for diagnosis and prognosis, and novel targets for therapeutic intervention. Dr. Pittet directs Cancer Immunology Program at CSB and collaborates with several immunology programs at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


In vivo imaging of immune cells at different scales. Imaging modalities include single photon emission computed tomography - X-ray computed tomography (SPECT-CT), fluorescence mediated tomography (FMT), microscopic fiber optics, and intravital multiphoton microscopy (IVM).

Recent Publications (more...)

Engblom C, Pfirschke C, Pittet MJ
The role of myeloid cells in cancer therapies.
Nat Rev Cancer. 2016;16(7):447-62 - PMID: 27339708
Spiegel A, Brooks MW, Houshyar S, Reinhardt F, Ardolino M, Fessler E, Chen MB, Krall JA, DeCock J, Zervantonakis IK, Iannello A, Iwamoto Y, Cortez-Retamozo V, Kamm RD, Pittet MJ, Raulet DH, Weinberg RA
Neutrophils suppress intraluminal NK-mediated tumor cell clearance and enhance extravasation of disseminated carcinoma cells.
Cancer Discov. 2016;6(6):630-49 - PMID: 27072748 - PMCID: PMC4918202
Pucci F, Garris C, Lai CP, Newton A, Pfirschke C, Engblom C, Alvarez D, Sprachman M, Evavold C, Magnuson A, von Andrian UH, Glatz K, Breakefield XO, Mempel TR, Weissleder R, Pittet MJ
SCS macrophages suppress melanoma by restricting tumor-derived vesicle–B cell interactions
Science. 2016;352(6282):242-246 - PMID: 26989197 - PMCID: PMC4960636
Azroyan A, Cortez-Retamozo V, Bouley R, Liberman R, Ruan YC, Kiselev E, Jacobson KA, Pittet MJ, Brown D, Breton S
Renal Intercalated Cells Sense and Mediate Inflammation via the P2Y14 Receptor.
PLoS ONE. 2015;10(3):e0121419 - PMID: 25799465 - PMCID: PMC4370445

Recent News (more...)

2016-08-18: Two CSB fellows - Kisoo Park, PhD and Christina Pfirschke, PhD - have been selected to receive a MGH ECOR Tosteson Postdoctoral Fellowship Award. The Tosteson Awards are given to the top-ranked applicants for the Fund for Medical Discovery Postdoctoral Awards. Congratulations, Kisoo and Christina!
2016-08-01: CSB investigators - Mikael Pittet, PhD, Matthias Nahrendorf, MD, PhD, and John Chen, MD, PhD - have been named Distinguished Investigators of the Academy of Radiology Research. Congratulations!
2016-03-21: An immune cell that protects against cancer. Macrophages are mostly viewed as tumor-promoting cells. They can infiltrate solid tumors in high numbers, and their presence at the tumor site is often associated with decreased patient survival. However, much less is known about macrophages located outside the tumor stroma. Mikael Pittet and colleagues now show that a population of lymph node macrophages, called subcapsular sinus (SCS) macrophages, unexpectedly protects against melanoma. The study was published in Science on March 17, 2016 and is available for download.
2016-02-16: A recipe to improve cancer immunotherapy. Novel immune checkpoint blockade therapies can be extraordinarily effective but may benefit only the minority of patients whose tumors are pre-infiltrated by antitumor immune cells called CD8+ T cells. In a study published in Immunity, the Pittet lab at MGH Center for Systems Biology reports that rationally selected immunogenic chemotherapy can convert tumor microenvironments lacking T cells into ones displaying antitumor T cell immunity. This process makes unresponsive tumors sensitive to immune checkpoint blockade therapies and consequently raises hope to feasibly expand the proportion of human cancers responding to these therapies.
2015-04-03: Mikael Pittet, PhD is the recipient of the 2015 Samana Cay MGH Research Scholar award. Congratulations, Mikael!