Immunotherapeutics

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Professor James Larkin (left), Co-Theme Lead, and Professor Alan Melcher (right), Co-Theme Lead for Immunotherapeutics
Professor James Larkin (left), Co-Theme Lead, and Professor Alan Melcher (right), Co-Theme Lead for Immunotherapeutics

Expanding the use of therapies which use the patient’s immune system to fight and cure advanced cancer.

Cancer is metastatic when it has spread to multiple parts of the body. Metastatic solid tumours were historically regarded as incurable. 

Data from late-stage clinical trials, several which were led by our BRC researchers, demonstrated that cancer immunotherapy offers the potential for metastatic disease control and cure. Immunotherapy uses drugs to get the body’s immune system to fight cancer.

However, responses are limited to a fraction of treated patients in a select group of malignancies.

We will expand the reach of immunotherapies in multiple tumour types.

Theme aims

We aim to:

  • Identify biological traits (biomarkers) that predict who will respond to immunotherapy.
  • Inform the development of the next generation of immunotherapies, including combining existing immunotherapies with other treatments.
  • Develop and trial novel immunotherapies including cellular therapies* and oncolytic viruses*.
  • Continue to investigate the impact of infection, antiviral and anticancer immunity and vaccination in the context of COVID-19 and cancer.

*Cellular therapies involve transplanting healthy cells in place of damaged cells
*Oncolytic viruses are viruses that infect and kill cancer cells

Co-Theme Leads

Professor James Larkin is a Consultant Medical Oncologist at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and Professor in Cancer Medicine at The Institute of Cancer Research, London. He is a specialist in the individualisation of patient treatment in renal cancer and melanoma, and the use of novel targeted therapies and immunotherapies.

Professor Alan Melcher is a Professor of Translational Immunotherapy at The Institute of Cancer Research and a Consultant Clinical Oncologist at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. His expertise is in development of immunotherapy treatments, particularly oncolytic viruses, for melanoma, brain and other cancers.