Cancer vaccines - harnessing the immune system to fight cancer
Professor Christian Ottensmeier and his team based at Southampton University are at the forefront of research into cancer vaccines. This novel approach to cancer treatment aims to stimulate the body's own immune system to recognise and kill the cancer cells. The technique is being tested as a treatment for cancers such as lymphoma and myeloma.
Dr Ottensmeier is developing DNA-based cancer vaccines for the treatment of a variety of different cancers.
The DNA vaccines contain the genetic code for molecules found on the surface of cancer cells. When the vaccine is injected into the body, special cells in the body absorb it and start to produce these molecules. This alerts the immune system, which mounts an attack against the cancer cells.
Dr Ottensmeier's first DNA vaccine has shown promising results in early-stage clinical trials for lymphoma and myeloma. The team has developed several more vaccines and these are being tested in clinical trials for the treatment of several cancers including prostate, bowel, breast and lung.
Dr Ottensmeier and his team are now carrying out further studies in the laboratory to improve the design of DNA vaccines and the way that they are delivered to patients. They are also developing techniques to monitor the strength and type of immune responses produced by patients following treatment.
This ground-breaking work should lead to the development of more effective cancer vaccines and will be useful for monitoring the success of future clinical trials testing these novel treatments.
Other research projects by Christian Ottensmeier
CRUKE/10/019: ICE: A Phase II trial of the addition of Ipilimumab to Carboplatin and Etoposide chemotherapy for the first line treatment of extensive stage small cell lung cancer
Funding period: 01 December 2010 to 31 May 2015
Funding period: 01 February 2013 to 31 January 2016