Tumor microenvironment


Our focus

Cancers develop in complex tissue environments, which they depend upon for sustained growth, invasion and metastasis. Inhibiting support from non-cancerous immune and stromal cells in the tumor microenvironment (TME) is considered to be an attractive therapeutic approach (Bejarano et al, 2021), as these cells are genetically normal and thus less likely to acquire drug resistance, a frequent outcome when targeting genomically unstable tumor cells.  Different TMEs are populated by diverse cell types including innate and adaptive immune cells, fibroblasts, blood and lymphatic vascular networks, and specialized organ-specific cell types, in addition to the extracellular matrix, which collectively have critical functions in regulating tumorigenesis.


Our research program is focused on understanding how reciprocal communication between cancer cells and diverse immune and stromal cell types in the TME controls tumor initiation, progression, and metastasis, and modulates the response to therapeutic intervention.  We employ a broad range of complementary experimental strategies to deeply interrogate the TME including the comprehensive analysis of patient samples (RNA-seq, proteomics, immune phenotyping, single cell analyses etc), 3D co-culture systems to mimic the TME, mouse models of cancer, multi-modal in vivo imaging platforms, and diverse computational analyses.


Our projects

We currently have multiple projects focused on exploring the TME of primary and metastatic brain cancers, including analyses of diverse immune cell phenotypes, the blood and lymphatic vascular networks, and interrogation of the unique properties of the brain extracellular matrix. We are also fascinated by the dynamic evolution of the TME during cancer progression and metastasis in several tumor types, including breast and lung cancer. Another major area of interest centers on how different therapies alter the TME, and how those changes can consequently modulate therapeutic outcome. Our ultimate goal is to apply all of this knowledge to the clinic and develop targeted therapies that disrupt essential tumor-microenvironment interactions for the benefit of patients.



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News @Joyce Lab

Unlocking Mysteries of Brain Tumors: New Study Reveals Secrets of Altered Blood Vessels.

Unlocking Mysteries of Brain Tumors: New Study Reveals Secrets of Altered Blood Vessels.

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Johanna JOYCE
Full Professor
Ludwig member

Laboratory J. Joyce

Department of oncology UNIL CHUV
Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research Lausanne

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Phone +41 21 692 59 37



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Ch. des Boveresses 155 - CH-1066 Epalinges
Tel. +41 21 692 59 92
Fax +41 21 692 59 95
Ludwig Cancer ResearchUniversité de LausanneCentre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV)