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Research projects

Developing targeted immunotherapy for leukaemia

Researcher
Dr Giulia Casorati
Project period
Jan 2019 - Jan 2022
Country
Research Institute
Fondazione Centro San Raffaele
Cancer types
Leukemia
Dr Giulia Casorati

Aim of the research

Dr Giulia Casorati aims to develop a technique for genetically engineering a special type of white blood cell so that it can recognise and kill cancer cells.

Meet the scientist

Dr Giulia Casorati is a joint group leader in the Experimental Immunology Unit at Fondazione Centro San Raffaele. Giulia has had a illustrious career in immunology research, helping to understand how cells of our immune system function and how this knowledge can be applied to the development of new cancer therapies.

More about the research project

There are nearly 440,000 new cases of leukaemia diagnosed worldwide each year and less than half of these people will survive for 10 years or more after their diagnosis. The current therapies for leukaemia are often very successful at treating patients, but many people go on to develop the disease again further down the line.

Dr Giulia Casorati, based at Fondazione Centro San Raffaele in Milan, Italy, has recently discovered a new immunotherapy technique that forces cells of the immune system to recognise, attack and destroy leukaemia cells. Dr Casorati and her team now want to see if they can develop this technique further by focusing their attention on a powerful immune cell called a Natural Killer T-cell. Their project aims to genetically engineer Natural Killer T-cells so that they recognise leukaemia cells and test their cancer killing ability in the lab. They hope that their technique will one day be turned into a new treatment for leukaemia.

Immunotherapy can beat cancer by helping our own immune system to hunt down and kill cancer cells like it would against infection with a virus or bacteria.