In some cancers such as melanoma, immunotherapy can now be used as standard treatment whereas it is still only available in clinical trials for other types of cancers.
At Birmingham our aim is to make significant contributions to understanding the fundamental processes that underlie the immune response to cancer and to translate this into therapeutic opportunities with our NHS partners.
Research at Birmingham is expertly placed, as the city offers a single biomedical campus with scientists and clinicians working side by side, contributing translational research from bench to bedside.
Cancer-targeted immunotherapies, both cellular and antibody-mediated, are poised to deliver transformative improvements in cancer treatment, with significant advances already evident in haematological and solid tumours. Our fundamental research is focused on three key themes, each critical to the development of such novel treatments.
One focus is on target positioning – identifying and characterising recognition of tumour antigens, and a second on understanding and therapeutically manipulating the tumour microenvironment.
In a third theme, our researchers are carrying out pre-clinical studies on a wide range of immunotherapeutic strategies, including new T-cell targeting, vaccination, antibody-based, and chemotherapy-based approaches, with the ultimate aim of advancing these novel therapeutic concepts into clinical trials.
Clinically these efforts are concentrated on haematological malignancies, head and neck, lung, colorectal and paediatric cancers.
Researchers at Birmingham are among the leaders in this fast evolving area, for example having discovered a new molecule found in the cancer cells of neuroblastoma, and identified the link between genetic changes in bowel tumours and the immune system’s response to the cancer.