Dr Sergio Quezada
One of the many jobs of our immune systems is to help stave off cancer by seeking out and destroying abnormal cells. Dr Sergio Quezada and his colleagues at University College London are studying why the body’s immune response sometimes fails to recognise and kill tumour cells.
Dr Quezada is focusing on a type of white blood cell called a T cell, which can track tumour cells down and attack them. He wants to better understand these cells and what triggers them to launch an effective response against cancer.
As part of his research, Dr Quezada and his team are looking at samples from 250 patients from our pioneering TRACERx study, which is tracking the evolution of a type of lung cancer. They want to find out whether having lots of cancer-fighting T cells is linked to the number of genetic faults found in the cancer cells, and if some genetic faults are better at triggering an immune attack. Dr Quezada will also look into whether the relationship between the cancer and immune system could help predict a patient’s outlook.
On top of this work, Dr Quezada is also developing new treatments that could boost the immune system’s cancer-fighting abilities. This approach – called immunotherapy – has proven very effective in some patients with certain cancers, such as melanoma skin cancer, but it doesn’t work for all patients. Through this work, Dr Quezada hopes to discover new immunotherapies, and give more people a better chance of survival.