Making immunotherapies more effective

Professor Tim Elliott

Professor Tim Elliott.


Professor Tim Elliott at the Cancer Research UK Southampton Centre is leading an international team of experts monitoring patients with melanoma, lung and oesophageal cancers who are being treated with immunotherapy. This type of treatment harnesses the power of the immune system against cancer and is an exciting area of cancer research that’s seen an explosion of interest and development in recent years.  

Unfortunately, immunotherapy treatments are not always effective, so the team is looking at why some patients respond well to it, while others don’t. This research will help identify the patients most likely to benefit from immunotherapy and will provide important information to help doctors design the most effective course of treatment for patients in their care. This work could also provide the key to unlocking immunotherapies for other cancer patients. 

This international team leverages the expertise of leading immunotherapy researchers across two continents: The La Jolla team in California and the well-established genomic and bioinformatics infrastructure in the UK. The researchers are also connected with industry partners, so they have access to the latest immunotherapies before they reach the clinic and can input into their use. 

This project will contribute towards a national, open-access database that can be used by the cancer and immunology research communities to accelerate the pace of progress. It will also be critical to the development of a coordinated approach to personalised cancer immunotherapy in the UK – which could be revolutionary for all cancer patients, but particularly for those with late-stage melanoma, and lung and oesophageal cancers, for which new treatment options are urgently needed.