Public Defence: Branislava Stankovic

MSc Branislava Stankovic at Institute of Clinical Medicine will be defending the thesis “The Immune Microenvironment in Primary Human Lung Cancer and Patient-derived Xenografts” for the degree of PhD (Philosophiae Doctor).

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Photo: Ine Eriksen.

An electronic copy of the thesis may be ordered from the faculty up to 2 days prior to the public defence. Inquiries regarding the thesis after the public defence must be addressed to the candidate.

Trial Lecture – time and place

See Trial Lecture.

Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Associate Professor Sukanya Raghavan, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg
  • Second opponent: Professor Silke Appel, Department of Clinical Science, University of Bergen
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Professor Marit Inngjerdingen, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo

Chair of the Defence

Professor Guttorm Haraldsen, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo

Principal Supervisor

Researcher Alexandre Corthay, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Oslo


Cancer immunotherapy works by activating the patient's own immune system to fight the disease. The success of this therapy in the clinic spiked an interest in understanding how immune cells function in tumors and inspired mapping of the immune landscape in different cancers.

This work presents an extensive analysis of immune cells in two different lung cancers, aggressive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and a less aggressive typical carcinoid (TC) lung cancer. Compared to non-cancerous lung, NSCLC tumors had a higher level of immune cells with a relative increase in B cells and a decrease in NK cells and macrophages.

Interestingly, the less aggressive TC had an immune cell representation similar to the non-cancerous lung. This shows that the aggressive NSCLC had a marked impact on the immune cell composition, whereas the less aggressive TC did not.

To examine how the immune cell composition in tumor changes during immunotherapy we treated patient-derived xenografts with immune checkpoint inhibitors anti-PD-1 and anti-CTLA4. This model revealed drastic changes in the immune landscape post-engraftment and enhanced T cell proliferation in response to therapy.

The presented discoveries can guide future efforts in precision medicine and accelerate the development of immune based prognostic tools.

Additional information

Contact the research support staff.

Published Nov. 24, 2021 11:21 AM - Last modified Dec. 8, 2021 12:54 PM