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Improving the power of the immune system to help beat mesothelioma lung cancer and melanoma skin cancer

  • Researcher: Dr Peter Katsikis
  • Institution: Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • Award Amount: £248,902 for 3 years from 1 June 2016
  • Cancer Type: Lung Cancer
Improving the power of the immune system to help beat mesothelioma lung cancer and melanoma skin cancer
Dr Peter Katsikis and his team are finding ways to help our own immune system target and attack tumours more efficiently. In this project his team will focus especially on the skin cancer melanoma, and a type of lung cancer called mesothelioma. Both of these types of cancer are prone to spread and can be very hard to treat once they do.

The researchers are especially interested in a CD8 T cell, a type of immune cell which usually helps to spot and attack tumours in the body. However these cells sometimes fail to find the tumour, or are suppressed and unable to attack. So Dr Katsikis and his team want to find new ways to help re-activate them. They are particularly interested in a set of molecules called miRNAs, which they think might help to regulate T cell activity in the body.

During this study they want to find exactly which combination of miRNA molecules will help to enhance and restore T cell action against tumours. The researchers hope that their findings will help design future anticancer T cell based immunotherapies for cancer patients.
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