Cancer immunology

More than one in three of us will contract cancer during our lifetime, and scientists and clinicians across the globe are searching for the next big medical breakthrough to fight the disease.


Professor Ben Willcox and his team at the Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy Centre (CIIC) at Birmingham are developing treatments to protect, harness and enhance the immune system's response to cancer. The treatments are designed to stop tumours from blocking or turning off immune responses to the cancer and allow the patient's own body to fight the cancer cells.

Chemotherapy is powerful but indiscriminate: while it attacks cancer cells, it also harms the healthy cells surrounding them. Clinical trial results in immunology have been shown to work as well as chemotherapy but with significantly less toxicity - and the potential for more effective, long-lasting results.

cancer-immunologyWhile the immune system provides the body's defence against infection and illness caused by 'foreign' invaders, cancer tumours have been able to evade detection or attack from white blood cells via several methods. Now, a greater understanding of those processes is moving immunotherapy forward from theory to reality.

Research already completed by the team showed incredibly exciting results in the treatment of solid cancers. Your support could fund more specialist scientists and prompt a momentous advance in medical science, helping establish Birmingham as a world-leading institute for this work.

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