T cells are a critical part of the immune system. Their role is to patrol the blood and tissues in order to detect and eliminate virus-infected and cancer cells. In the Hudson lab, we seek to understand T cell biology and improve their function, with the goal of developing new therapies against infections, autoimmunity, and cancer.
The Hudson lab is located in the Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas. We are part of Baylor College of Medicine’s Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and the Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center.
T cells are responsible for destroying tumors and cells infected with intracellular pathogens such as viruses and bacteria. Unfortunately T cell responses are not always optimal, leading to chronic infections and the growth of tumors.
Our research focuses on understanding the causes of T cell dysfunction in order to develop new immunotherapies for cancer and other diseases.
T cell exhaustion
“Exhaustion” is the process by which T cells become dysfunctional and fail to control tumors and infections. By understanding the biology of T cell exhaustion, we can identify new targets and strategies to improve T cell function. Our research focuses on identifying signals that inhibit T cell function and can be targeted for new immunotherapies.
Immunotherapies – modification of the immune system to treat diseases – have revolutionized the treatment of cancer. Unfortunately, not all patients respond to current immunotherapies. We seek to identify new strategies and drugs to improve T cell responses in patients with cancer and infectious disease.
Immunology method development and application
In recent years, new tools have emerged that permit incredible and detailed study of biological systems. We develop, refine, and apply these methods to immunological questions, allowing unprecedented insight into T cell development and function.
Deep mutational scanning identifies SARS-CoV-2 Nucleocapsid escape mutations of currently available rapid antigen tests
Distinct phenotypic states and spatial distribution of CD8 + T cell clonotypes in human brain metastases.
Proliferating Transitory T Cells with an Effector-like Transcriptional Signature Emerge from PD-1+ Stem-like CD8+ T Cells during Chronic Infection
We gratefully acknowledge the support of:
October 26, 2023
Hudson Lab Receives American Lung Association Grant for Lung Cancer Research
The Hudson Lab is excited to announce the receipt of a Lung Cancer Discovery Award from the American Lung Association to fund our research entitled “Mapping T Cell Exhaustion in Lung Tumors.” This project aims to uncover novel strategies to overcome resistance to immune checkpoint inhibitors in the treatment of lung cancer.
Immune checkpoint inhibitors – such as drugs targeting PD-1 – have ushered in a new era of lung cancer therapy, but not all tumors respond, and resistance remains a challenge. In our research, we will use advanced sequencing techniques to identify alternative inhibitory signaling mechanisms in lung tumor-infiltrating T cells. Additionally, we will create a spatial map of gene expression within lung adenocarcinoma tumors to gain insight into T cell function. This work has the potential to revolutionize lung cancer treatment and improve outcomes for patients.
We are grateful for the support from the American Lung Association and excited to advance our understanding of lung cancer.
July 05, 2023
New award from the Cancer Research Institute
The Cancer Research Institute has granted the Hudson Laboratory a two-year Technology Impact Award to advance the adoption of spatial T cell receptor (TCR) sequencing technology for the analysis of preserved tissue samples.
This initiative aims to deepen our understanding of T cell function and antigen specificity within the tumor microenvironment. T cells, vital components of the immune system, detect foreign and mutated proteins present in cancer cells. Spatial TCR sequencing allows the evaluation of T cell specificity and their spatial distribution within tissues, shedding light on how the tumor environment influences T cell function and their response to immunotherapy. By extending this technique to preserved tissue, the project seeks to investigate T cell activity and location within tumors using a wider range of available samples. This advancement would lead to valuable insights into the distribution and behavior of T cell clones within the tumor microenvironment, aiding the evaluation of disease progression and response to immunotherapy.
May 19, 2023
Exploring the immune effects of radiation in cancer
New Hudson Lab research was published today in Cell Reports Medicine!
In this report, we analyzed two brain tumors from the same patient – one tumor had received radiation, and the other was untreated. We performed advanced sequencing experiments to analyze gene and protein expression on more than 45,000 single cells from the two tumors and the patient’s blood immune cells. Because the two tumors are from the same patient, we could compare T cell receptor sequences – which are barcodes that track antigen-specific cells within a person – between the two samples.
Our results show that radiation is associated with dramatic immune changes in the tumor microenvironment. Despite similar mutational profiles between the untreated and irradiated samples, tumor-enriched T cells are nearly entirely depleted following radiation. These tumor-specific cells are instead replaced by T cells from the circulation, which are unlikely to contribute to tumor-specific immunity. Radiation also caused a depletion of tumor-associated macrophages and an influx of pro-inflammatory monocytes from the circulation. These findings indicate that radiation may deplete beneficial cells that contribute to anti-tumor immunity.
Read the full paper here.