Professor Tony Tiganis aims to work out how to attract more cells of the immune system to breast tumours so that they can aid in eradicating cancer cells. The hope is that this research might open up a new treatment avenue for breast cancers that are particularly difficult to treat.
Tony Tiganis is a professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Monash Unviersity in Melbourne. His team's main focus is on cell signalling pathways and their wide reaching implications in many diseases.
The immune system is a powerful thing and finding ways to give it the kick it needs to become a weapon against cancer is a hotly pursued area of research. His team are focused on the type of breast cancer called Triple Negative (TNBC) - the type that is most aggressive.
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.