Member Q&A - Dr Stergios Doumas

We meet Stergios, a Maxillofacial/Head & Neck surgeon in Leeds, UK, who is also carrying out a PhD in immunology at the Medical School of Athens, Greece.
Member Q&A - Dr Stergios Doumas

1. What is your full name, job title and where do you work?

Stergios Doumas, Maxillofacial/Head & Neck Fellow, Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust.

2. What are your main research interests?

I would like to delve into the mechanisms of the so-called acquired immune privileged milieu. Originally, this was the idea of Professors David Munn and Andrew Mellor that was described about 12 years ago. Moreover, I have interest in how Head & Neck cancer cells evade the immune system and interact with draining lymph nodes.

3. Describe your work in a tweet

Surgeon with passion for research.

4. What big projects are you working on right now?

My PhD is focused in the expression of “immune system brakes” in primary oral cancer and the metastatic lymph nodes. We intend to study CTLA-4, PD-1, TIM-3 and LAG-3 in the primary cancer site as well as the metastatic lymph nodes. We want to check whether these receptors are biomarkers in this clinical setting independently or combined.

5. Who do you collaborate with?

My PhD is based on the collaboration of experts in various fields. It is supervised by Professor Amanda Psyrri, a head & neck oncologist at the Medical School of Athens, Greece. The lab work will be implemented at the pathology lab in Yale University under the guidance of Professor David Rimm. Professor Anastasios Kanatas, consultant head & Neck Surgeon at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and Professor Nikolaos Papadogeorgakis head of OMFS Dept at General Hospital of Athens play also key roles in this endeavour.

6. Tell us a bit about your career so far

I have studied dentistry and medicine in Greece. Thereafter, I pursued a career in oral & maxillofacial surgery in Scotland and Greece. Following the completion of my training, I work as maxillofacial/Head & Neck fellow at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. In addition, I am first year PhD student at the medical School of Athens.

7. What are you most proud of?

Family and offering treatment to Head & Neck cancer patients.

8. What’s your interest in the cancer-immune setpoint?

Immunotherapy is now considered the 4th pillar in cancer treatment. It has yielded some spectacular results in a considerable percentage of final stage cancer patients. The cancer immune setpoint framework is an amazing “puzzle” with every piece shedding light into the various mechanisms that help tumour cells to obviate immune system.

9. What do you hope it will achieve?

Deciphering these interactions will provide a rationale for potential treatment combinations between surgery, radiotherapy, metronomic chemotherapy and immunotherapy, so we can generate more robust immune response and increase the “tail of curve” in patients survival. 

10. What advice do you have for others working in the field?

Persistence, collaboration between clinicians and lab researchers, multidisciplinary approach, and data sharing. Get more surgeons into the lab! 

11. What do you do to wind down?

Playing with my son, listening to music, enjoying nice food with family and friends.

12. Tell us something unusual about yourself

My course towards oncology & research is actually quite unusual. My early dental career was influenced by the death of beloved relatives from cancer. This was how I started getting interested in immunology and pursued a career in maxillofacial/ Head and Neck Surgery. Saving a human life is probably the most rewarding!

Join in today!

We need more of our community members to contribute their ideas - please go to the cancer-immune setpoint (on a computer rather than mobile) and add to or comment on the interactive framework. All contributions are welcome, no matter how big or small!

Please see our ‘how to’ post if you need a quick reminder about what you need to do.