What is cancer immunotherapy?
Cancer immunotherapy is a form of cancer treatment that uses the body’s immune system to prevent and eliminate cancer. It has revolutionised cancer treatment over the last decade and the speed of development, testing and approval for immunotherapy treatments in a wide range of cancers has been remarkable.
However, our biological understanding of why immunotherapy works on some patients and not others remains poorly understood.
Clinical testing in immunotherapy is outstripping our understanding of how it works biologically. While associations between some markers and response have been established, there is a need for biomarkers based on biological understanding. In order to increase our understanding of the biology and mechanisms underlying what makes treatment successful, a bench to bedside and back approach is warranted including pre-clinical modelling and systematic immune-monitoring of cancer patients.
The ICR has major research activity in the field of cancer immunology. But this research is not necessarily led by researchers with a primary interest and background in this field. As the immunomodulatory effects of more established cancer therapies (eg radiotherapy and chemotherapy) are being explored, there is a growing need for immune analysis within projects that may not directly involve immunotherapy treatment.
As such, the CTI works as a platform for knowledge sharing and collaboration between all teams within the ICR and Royal Marsden who have an interest in tumour immunology and who wish to develop their projects to answer immune-related questions.
Professor Alan Melcher is the Lead of the Centre for Translational Immunotherapy, and Dr Andrew Furness is the Clinical Lead.
The Centre for Translational Immunotherapy is aligned to the Imperial College led Immuno-Pathology Network (ImmNET), which brings together immunology researchers from a range of centres and disciplines, including cancer.
The Centre hosts a monthly seminar series with the aim of highlighting the diverse projects in the field and promoting new collaborations across different areas of research. Organised by Dr Erik Wennerberg, Team Leader in Radiation-enhanced Immunotherapy, it constitutes a central part of the CTI initiative. As part of our ongoing collaboration with ImmNET, researchers from Imperial College will be presenting their work in upcoming CTI seminars.
ICR staff can view the CTI seminar series on the Nexus calendar (login required). The Royal Marsden staff can access the series via the seminar email notification.