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Delineating the Role of the Microbiome in Modulating Tumor and Host Immunity

Jennifer Wargo, MD, MMSc


Dr. Wargo’s group have previously studied the role of the microbiome in a large cohort of patients with metastatic melanoma, and identified significant differences in the diversity and composition of the gut (fecal) microbiome in responders versus non-responders to immune checkpoint blockade (specifically PD-1 blockade). In this project, they have set out to gain a more complete understanding of the mechanism through which the gut microbiome may modulate immune responses –focusing on systemic as well as anti-tumor immune responses. They have been performing mechanistic studies in samples from patients with metastatic melanoma on immunotherapy and are carrying out studies to better understand the optimal means to modulate the microbiome in order to enhance therapeutic responses.


After completing her medical degree, Dr. Wargo entered surgical residency training at the Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. During her training, she completed two fellowships in surgical oncology with a focus on immunotherapy for cancer. She is currently Professor of Surgery and Genomic Medicine and co-leader of the Melanoma Moon Shot Program at the MD Anderson Cancer Center.