Mira Shenouda



BSc Biomedical Sciences, University of Waterloo

905-525-9140 x22778


Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in Canadian women. It accounts for 26% of all new cancer cases and 14% of all cancer related deaths.1 Despite all efforts to eradicate the disease, there are several breast cancer subtypes that are extremely resistant to current cancer therapies, with very high recurrence rates and a poor survival outlook for patients. Several therapies targeting specific breast cancer subtypes have lately been investigated, one of which is cancer immunotherapy, which harnesses the powers of the immune system to treat cancer. A new emerging immunotherapy uses Natural Killer (NK) cells, a type of innate lymphocyte, as an adoptive cell therapy. NK cells have the ability to recognize and kill transformed cells and tumor cells, and hence they play a major role in cancer immune surveillance. Recent advances allowed our lab to generate millions of NK cells from only a few milliliters of peripheral blood from patients, clearing a major hurdle in the use of NK cells as an adoptive cell therapy.

My project focuses on the use of NK cells to target breast tumor. I mainly focus on the use of breast cancer patients’ NK cells to eliminate and kill their own tumor cells in the hopes that we can use autologous NK cell transfer (Figure 1) to treat breast cancer and breast cancer metastasis.



1 Canadian Cancer Society’s Advisory Committee On Cancer Statistics, "Canadian Cancer Statistics," Canadian Cancer Society, Toronto, ON, 2013.

2 Gray, J., 2010. Cancer: Genomics of metastasis. News & Views, Nature, Vol 464. Pp. 989-990.