Boosting the immune system to treat cancer
Based at the University of Oxford, Professor Vincenzo Cerundolo is an expert in immunotherapy – treatments that harness a patient’s own immune system to destroy tumours. Immunotherapy has the potential to be a powerful treatment for cancer, but at the moment it is not as effective as it could be. Professor Cerundolo and his team are working on ways to improve immunotherapy, pushing forward this exciting new treatment to bring benefits to people with cancer.
Professor Cerundolo’s research focuses on improving immunotherapy treatments known as cancer vaccines. These are different from preventive vaccines that people have to stop them picking up infections like measles or TB.
Instead, cancer vaccines are given to people who already have cancer, ‘training’ the immune system to recognise and destroy cancer cells throughout the body. But clinical trials have shown that cancer vaccines don’t boost the immune system as much as they could do.
Professor Cerundolo and his team are carrying out an in-depth investigation of how the immune system responds to cancer vaccines, studying the different types of immune cells involved. Through their research they hope to hit on ways to improve the effectiveness of cancer vaccines, which could save many lives in the future.
Other research projects by Vincenzo Cerundolo
Funding period: 01 October 2009 to 30 September 2014