Close up of researcher working with samples in a lab

Research projects

Boosting the ability of our immune system to better detect and more effectively destroy cancer

Associate Professor Mireille Lahoud
Project period
Jan 2024 - Dec 2026
Research Institute
Monash University
Cancer types
Prostate cancer
Award amount

Project aim

Associate Professor Lahoud and her team are exploring exactly how immune cells in our body can better detect and more effectively remove cancer. Their work will generate vital information which could one day lead to new immunotherapy treatments.

Hope for the future

Immunotherapy treatments are designed to improve the ability of our immune system to find and destroy cancer cells. These treatments are showing great promise, and are already used to treat many patients with cancer. But they don’t work for everyone, which is why we need more research.

There is still so much that we don’t know about how our immune system works, and what we can do to boost its effectiveness against cancer. With your support, Associate Professor Lahoud and her team will investigate how a particular type of immune cell can detect cancer cells, and then coordinate other immune cells to remove them. Their findings will help to progress development of new and powerful immunotherapy treatments for patients with cancer.

Smiley headshot of Mireille Lahoud with grey background

Meet the scientist

Mireille loves listening to orchestral music and attending performances. She usually listens to classical music for inspiration.

The science

Associate Professor Lahoud and her team previously identified a molecular sensor, Clec9A, that is only found on a type of immune cell called a dendritic cell. These cells are the conductors of the orchestra. They initiate the response of our immune system towards cancer. Clec9A plays an important role, allowing dendritic cells to sense dead and damaged cancer cells, triggering our immune system to deal with this ‘threat’ and remove them.

During this project, the team will explore how this sensor and other molecules involved in the same pathway work together. By understanding exactly how these molecules are involved, they will be able to find new ways to control the whole process, and better ways to help our immune system respond more effectively to cancer.

Immunotherapies can be very effective, but they are not suitable for all types of cancer. Current immunotherapies don’t work for every patient. Ultimately, this new knowledge could help researchers to improve how immunotherapies work, and develop novel immunotherapy treatments with the potential to help even more patients than ever before.

Smiley headshot of Mireille Lahoud with grey background Associate Professor Lahoud
Thank you for your support. We could not do this without you! This funding from Worldwide Cancer Research allows us to tackle and understand how the immune system can more effectively see and respond to tumours, and how this changes as we get older. With this funding, we can then develop approaches to drive more effective immune response for improved cancer therapies.

Become a Curestarter and help us fund the next pioneering research project.

Our research projects wouldn’t be possible without the funds we receive from people like you. £37 pays for an hour of research and every hour brings us closer to new cures.

Support Us

Join our monthly newsletter

Keep up to date with all our latest news, events, groundbreaking research discoveries and much more!

You're now a Curestarter!

Our newsletter usually drops towards the end of each month

Thanks for subscribing