Cancer immunotherapy approaches are starting to transform the way we treat cancer with remarkable effects in clinical trials, even in late stage disease. This module will first provide a basic understanding of cancer immunology, giving an overview of the components of the immune system and evidence that the immune system can mount potent and potentially curative responses against cancer. It will outline the key challenges that immunotherapy strategies have to overcome, and illustrate the advantages/disadvantages of different classes of antigenic targets that are currently a focus of immunotherapy. This will include the potential for next generation immunotherapy approaches to target personalised combinations of antigens. Also overviewed will be the tissue context in which cancer immunotherapy takes place, and the challenges and opportunities that the tumour microenvironment presents. Drawing on specific examples, a range of current immunotherapy approaches will be reviewed, focusing on their scientific basis and clinical mode of action. These strategies will include antibody therapies, checkpoint blockade strategies, T cell /chimeric antigen receptor adoptive therapy, and cancer vaccines.
Module attendance required
Optional 20 credit module over 2-3 weeks.
23 November to 12 December
Summatively assessed with a 3000 word essay (50%) set during the module and a multiple choice question (MCQ) exam (50%).
Academics involved in the delivery of this module
Professor Benjamin Willcox and Dr Fiyaz Mohammed with lecturers from the University of Birmingham.