Immunity and cancer are fundamentally intertwined. The development of a cancer can be promoted by over-active inflammatory responses, and is shaped by tumour immune-surveillance. Conversely, cancer impacts the immune system, leading to ineffective responses to infection and poor wound healing. Crucially, drugs that activate the immune system have recently revolutionised the treatment of cancer. Indeed, cancer immunotherapy has fundamentally changed the outlook for many patients, allowing them to achieve long-term control of their disease.
In the Division of Cancer Medicine we are working to further understand the interplay between the immune system and cancer across both cancer development and treatment. Central questions we are seeking to explore include:
- How does inter-individual variation in immunity shape cancer development?
- Does our genetic make-up influence responses to immunotherapy?
- How can we better target patients for treatment with cancer immunotherapy?