Molecular Biology

Molecular Biology Experts

Amber J. Giles

Research Fellow
Center for Cancer Research
National Cancer Institute
United States of America


"Our goal is to determine how to effectively utilize a patient’s own immune system to fight their brain tumor. In these patients, multiple challenges face lymphocytes, including the blood-brain barrier, the immune suppressive microenvironment of the brain tumor, and lymphopenia-inducing anti-tumor therapies. In addition, many brain tumors are “mutationally silent,” preventing effective immune recognition. Our group seeks to identify those patients who will benefit from immune therapies. We are leading a highly collaborative effort to profile the immune system of patients enrolled in clinical trials. From these studies, we aim to establish a core immunologic panel to be used in multi-institutional clinical trials. Our basic and translational research focuses on the immunologic interactions between brain tumors, the local tissue microenvironment, and the systemic immune response. We aim to enhancing immune therapies by 1) improving lymphocyte function and 2) making the tumor more susceptible to immune attack. We are interrogating components of the tumor microenvironment, such as immune modulating cells, hypoxia, and metabolic factors for their impact on immune function. We are also examining the mechanisms of immune depletion induced by corticosteroids and anti-cancer therapies. Finally, we are examining the epigenetic and molecular mechanisms employed by tumor cells to evade immune attack."

Research Interest

Cancer Biology, Clinical Research, Immunology, Neuroscience, Stem Cell Biology


  • Highfill SL, Cui Y, Giles AJ, Smith JP, Zhang H, Morse E, Kaplan RN, Mackall CL. Disruption of CXCR2-mediated MDSC tumor trafficking enhances anti-PD1 efficacy. Science translational medicine. 2014 May 21;6(237):237ra67-.

  • Giles AJ, Reid CM, Evans JD, Murgai M, Vicioso Y, Highfill SL, Kasai M, Vahdat L, Mackall CL, Lyden D, Wexler L. Activation of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells promotes immunosuppression within the pre–metastatic niche. Cancer research. 2016 Mar 15;76(6):1335-47.

  • Giles AJ, Chien CD, Reid CM, Fry TJ, Park DM, Kaplan RN, Gilbert MR. The functional interplay between systemic cancer and the hematopoietic stem cell niche. Pharmacology & therapeutics. 2016 Dec 31;168:53-60.

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