Professor Mark Cragg
Professor Mark Cragg is a Professor in Experimental Cancer Biology at the University of Southampton. Alongside Professors Stephen Beers, Aymen Al’Shamkhani and Sean Lim he’s investigating how we can improve a type of immunotherapy that uses monoclonal antibodies to help the immune system to attack cancer cells.
Antibody immunotherapies are used to treat multiple cancer types, but their effectiveness and toxicity can vary between patients. His work concentrates on two main types of antibodies – direct targeting antibodies that work by binding to and deleting the cancer cells directly and immunomodulatory antibodies that bind to immune cells and trigger them to seek out and destroy the cancer.
Previous research has shown that the activity of anti-cancer antibodies is often regulated by receptors called Fc receptors on the surface of myeloid cells, a type of blood cell. These receptors act as a link between the antibodies and the immune cells.
However, tumour-specific factors like oxygen levels can affect the production of these receptors in myeloid cells.
Professors Cragg and colleagues are investigating exactly how myeloid and other immune cells are regulated in tumours and how we can use antibodies that target receptors on their surface for therapeutic effect. In deepening our understanding of how these immunotherapies work, they hope to make these immunotherapies effective in more people with cancer.