SC1: In vitro and in vivo Modeling for Cancer Research

MONDAY, JUNE 2 | 8:00 – 11:00 AM

ABOUT THIS COURSE: This short course will describe the use of cutting-edge models to study human tumor biology, including both in vivo and in vitro approaches to advance our understanding of interactions between human immune systems and the tumor microenvironment. The use of humanized mice to study tumor biology will be discussed, including a description of the unique models available currently, highlighting the strengths and limitations of the models and the specific application of humanized mice in the field of cancer immunotherapy. The development and use of 3D models and patient-derived organoids will also be discussed, including a description of the technologies needed to establish these models and their application to study tumor physiology, growth and specific therapies. Key concepts that will be emphasized in the course include the development of optimal strategies and study designs to effectively interrogate questions focused on immuno-oncology.


  • Organotypic tumor models
  • Ex vivo technologies to study anticancer drugs
  • Applications of preclinical models for oncology drug discovery
  • Clinical translatability of preclinical models
  • Human tumor-immune system interactions on humanized mice
  • Selection of humanized mice models


Brehm_MichaelMichael Brehm, PhD, Assistant Professor, Diabetes Center of Excellence, Program in Molecular Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School

Dr. Brehm received his PhD from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Program in Molecular Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and a member of the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence. Dr. Brehm’s research program is focused on understanding how human effector T cells are regulated, and his laboratory is actively using “humanized” mice to model human T cell responses. Dr. Brehm has published over 70 manuscripts and reviews and is supported by funding from the JDRF, NIAID, NIDDK and the Helmsley Charitable Trust.

Goldman_AaronAaron Goldman, PhD, Faculty and Principal Investigator, Goldman Laboratory Drug Resistance Group, Harvard Medical School

Our research at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School is focused on developing an understanding of how cancer cells respond and resist cancer chemo and immunotherapies. We seek to fully interrogate the entire tumor ecosystem, which encompasses tumor cells, the microenvironment around it, and even the role that normal cells contribute to the progression of cancer under drug pressure. To do this, we engage a unique interdisciplinary team of scientists to provide a complete picture of drug response and resistance in a patient's tumor.

Khattar_MithunMithun Khattar, PhD, Scientist II, Lead, Immuno-Oncology, Takeda Oncology

Dr. Khattar is an immunologist at Takeda Pharmaceuticals, where he is leading efforts to leverage the immune-phenotypic features of anti-cancer agents and is engaged in designing next-generation approaches for cancer immunotherapy, particularly cell and gene therapies. Dr. Khattar’s previous research has focused on discovery of novel, antigen-specific immune therapies for cancer, autoimmunity and transplantation; involving modalities like CAR T-cells, personalized cancer vaccines, monoclonal antibodies and small molecule inhibitors. Prior to Takeda, he has held positions at Agenus Inc., Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Khattar received his PhD in Immunology from the University of Toledo-Medical Center.