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Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute


The de la Roche lab is a newly established cancer immunology group. We are interested in the differentiation, migration and function of CD8 T cells during the adaptive anti-tumour response. Tumour-specific naïve CD8 T cells are activated in the lymph node, expand, and develop into cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs). These CTLs then home to the tumour and specifically kill tumour cells by targeted secretion of lytic granules containing cytotoxic granzymes and perforin.

Our lab investigates the Hedgehog (Hh) signalling pathway that we have previously shown is required for CTL killing in vitro (de la Roche et al, Science Dec 2013). We want to understand how Hh signalling functions in CD8 T cells and uncover its role throughout the CD8 anti-tumour response using genetic models as well as molecular and imaging approaches.

Our long-term goal is to modulate Hh signalling pharmacologically to improve the CD8 response in tumour patients.

Cytotoxic T cells

Naïve CD8 T cell (left) and CTL (right) stained with phalloidin (actin, red) and antibody against γ-tubulin (centrosome, green).  Nuclei labelled with Hoechst (blue). Scale bar: 5μm