McGarry Houghton, MD

Associate Member
Clinical Research Division
Associate Member
Human Biology Division
Associate Professor, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
University of Washington


Johns Hopkins University, 1992, BA (Chemistry)
Georgetown University, School of Medicine, 1996, MD
Intern, Internal Medicine, UT-Southwestern (Parkland Hospital), Dallas, TX, 1997
Resident, Internal Medicine, UT-Southwestern (Parkland Hospital), Dallas, TX, 1999
Fellow, Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 2004

Research Focus:

The current focus of my research program is to comprehensively study the host immune response to non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We have generated data in human NSCLC patients showing that immune cell content is distinctly different for each NSLCLC subtype. Currently, we are identifying the dominant immune suppressive entity for each NSCLC subtype. In the near future, we will use this information to logically design immune based therapeutic strategies and test them in genetically engineered mice that display the same NSCLC subtype. One potential immune based therapy for NSCLC is to generate tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) from primary lung cancer specimens and expand them in culture, before re-infusing the tumor-killing subset of TIL back into the patient. These efforts are also ongoing within our laboratory.

We have also continued to study the role of myeloid lineage cells within the lung tumor microenvironment. We were the first group to identify that tumor cells in vivo released the chemokines that recruited neutrophils to the TME, strongly suggesting that tumor-associated PMN aren’t a means of host defense (Oncogene 2006, 25:2105-12). Subsequently, we have shown deleterious roles for specific neutrophil-derived proteinases, such as neutrophil elastase, in cancer (Nature Med 2010, 16:229-233).  Our current studies in this area are centered upon the ability of IRS-1 to regulate myeloid cell recruitment to sites of tumorigenesis, and the role of neutrophil elastase in promoting lung cancer metastasis.

Clinical Expertise:

Dr. Houghton is a Pulmonary and Critical Care physician by training, with a clinical interest in lung cancer diagnosis. We have a robust clinical program in pulmonary nodule evaluation and early lung cancer detection.

Current Studies:

R01 HL108979 (Houghton) 07/15/11 – 01/31/17
Neutrophil Elastase Links Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis and Lung Cancer
The purpose of the proposal is to identify the shared mechanisms by which neutrophil elastase promotes myofibroblast differentiation in lung fibrosis and epithelial-mesenchymal transition in lung cancer. The results may establish neutrophil elastase as a therapeutic target for patients with lung cancer and pulmonary fibrosis.

R01 CA188341 (Houghton) 03/01/15 – 02/28/20
IRS-1 Regulates Inflammatory Cell Recruitment in Lung Cancer
The purpose of this study is to establish the means by which insulin receptor substrate-1 regulates the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines by lung cancer cells, and to identify the relevant pathways that may represent therapeutic targets.

Related Labs & Projects

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Contact Information

(206) 667-3175
(206) 667-5255
Additional contact

Mail Stop: D4-100