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Kick-starting the immune system in an aggressive type of breast cancer

  • Researcher: Professor Tony Tiganis
  • Institution: Monash Univeristy, Melbourne, Australia
  • Award Amount: £236,553 for 3 years from 1st January 2018
  • Cancer Type: Breast Cancer
Kick-starting the immune system in an aggressive type of breast cancer
The immune system is a powerful thing and findings ways to give it the kick it needs to become a weapon against cancer is a hotly pursued area of research. Professor Tony Tiganis at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, is using funding from Worldwide Cancer Research to work out how to attract more cells of the immune system to breast tumours so that they can aid in eradicating cancer cells. His team are focused on the type of breast cancer called Triple Negative (TNBC) – the type that is most aggressive and can currently only be treated with chemotherapy.

Through their research they want to find out why some TNBCs have lots of immune cells known as tumour-associated lymphocytes (TILs) in the tumour, while others do not. The presence of more TILs within a tumour is thought to be associated with a better response to treatment and better overall outcomes for the patient. By unlocking this secret they want to be able to find new ways to help attract more TILs in TNBC to enhance the effect of treatment.
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