The role of the immune system in pancreatic cancer

Professor Paul Moss

Professor Paul Moss


Professor Paul Moss is an expert in immunology – the study of how the immune system works. He leads a group of researchers at the University of Birmingham who are working to develop ways of harnessing the body’s own immune system to treat pancreatic cancer.

Immunotherapy works by helping the immune system to recognise and destroy cancer cells. This treatment is showing great promise for a range of cancers but is an untapped area for treating pancreatic cancer.

We know that pancreatic cancers have a mechanism or ‘shield’ to stop immune cells from being able to attack them. So even if immune cells do recognise the cancer, they can’t kill it. Professor Moss and his team are aiming to understand how this shield works, and how we can remove it – enabling the immune cells to destroy the cancer. They will also be hunting for new types of immunotherapy drugs that can lock-on to pancreatic cancer cells directly, acting as beacons to attract more immune cells to the cancer and helping them to eliminate the cancer cells.

This research could change our understanding of how we can harness the immune response to tackle pancreatic cancer – one of the hardest to treat cancers.