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BCRF Grantee Since


Donor Recognition

The ANN INC. Award

Area(s) of Focus

Johanna A. Joyce, PhD

Member, Cancer Biology and Genetics Program, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Professor, Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences
New York, New York

Current Research

Cancers develop in a complex microenvironment. As the tumor grows, it ‘hijacks’ other non-cancerous cells from surrounding tissue and the bone marrow to help it grow and spread. One type of cell hijacked by tumors is a type of immune cell called a macrophage. Macrophages are among the most important non-tumor cells and are believed to contribute to tumor progression. How they do this is an active area of research. In her current BCRF project, Dr. Joyce is studying how specific molecules released by macrophages near the tumor promote tumor progression and blunt tumor response to therapy. Her group recently found that macrophages accumulate in breast tumors after treatment and instead of fighting the tumor as one would expect from an immune cell, the macrophages surprisingly protected tumor cells against the chemotherapy drugs. Studies are ongoing to identify strategies to block this effect, which may ultimately lead to new therapeutic approaches to enhancing the effectiveness of existing anti-cancer drugs.


Dr. Joyce is Member in the Cancer Biology Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) and a Professor of Cell Biology and Genentics at Weill Cornell University Graduate School of Medical Sciences. She received her doctorate in Biology from the University of Cambridge, England in 1999 and completed her postdoctoral training in Dr. Douglas Hanahan's lab at University of California, San Francisco. She joined MSKCC in December 2004 and was named to a Geoffrey Beene Junior Faculty Chair in 2007. Her research interests are to understand the mechanisms by which stromal cells in the tumor microenvironment regulate cancer development, metastasis, and response to therapy.