Researcher Spotlight: Antonio Ferreira, PHD
BRIGHAM AND WOMEN’S HOSPITAL
The tumor microenvironment, comprised of both tumor cells and healthy cells, may play a role in growth and proliferation of malignant cells. Dr. Ferreira’s LRF research, funded under the Foundation’s larger follicular efforts, aims to characterize interactions in the lymph node microenvironment in follicular lymphoma (FL), where he believes healthy cells may contribute to proliferation of lymphoma cells. By defining these relationships, Dr. Ferreira hopes to illuminate new possible therapeutic targets in FL treatment. “These cells do not divide as frequently as cancer cells, so they are less prone to mutations and therefore less likely to develop resistance to drugs,” he explains. “For these reasons, we think targeting the microenvironment could improve outcomes for treating patients with FL.”
Dr. Ferreira is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School. He earned his PhD from University College London, but his interest in hematologic diseases began long before that. “In preschool, I lost a friend to aggressive leukemia,” he shares. “It has been therefore an exciting journey and a great honor to be able to directly study the mechanisms of one of these diseases.” Through his research studying the tumor microenvironment, Dr. Ferreira hopes to provide novel insights into the molecular basis of FL that will support the development of more effective treatment options.
Dr. Ferreira hopes to one day lead his own academic research lab where he can continue his research studying cell signaling and tumor microenvironment interactions in B cell lymphomas. He expects that someday his research may also be used to guide targeted lymphoma treatment by understanding differences in individual responses to novel therapies.