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MRC iCASE Partnership - Student Project:
Promoting cancer cells' antigen presentation for serving as better targets for T cell immunotherapy

Cytotoxic T cells (CTLs), which kill tumour cells upon recognition of antigenic peptides presented by the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) on the cell surface, are the goal of precision medicine including immunotherapies. However, tumour cells engage several mechanisms to avoid the presentation of tumour-specific antigens (TSAs or TAAs) and consequently, they can escape CTL-mediated cell death. This contributes to the failure of many immunotherapies to control tumour growth even when immunity (e.g. CTLs) has been properly stimulated. Most immunotherapies targeting antigen presentation focus on professional antigen-presenting cells and rarely on tumour cells themselves, which leads to poor efficacy. Hence, immunotherapies and products that enhance the antigen presentation process in tumour cells are an unmet need.

Working with Oxford Vacmedix UK Ltd (OVM), the student will test the small molecules co-developed by the Departments of Chemistry and Oncology in the vaccine models used by OVM. Moreover, the students will gain hands-on experience in OVM learning new skills regarding technology transfer and drug development.

Shisong Jiang


Associate Professor/ Senior Industrial Fellow

  • Immunology

Therapeutic vaccines; TNF-related inflammation

Research Interests

Research at Dr Jiang’s Laboratory focuses on understanding mechanisms of antigen presentation to the immune system; biomarker discovery and the development of new vaccines, including therapeutic vaccines with a particular emphasis on translating discoveries into new treatments for cancer patients. One major outcome of this work has been the development of a recombinant overlapping peptides technology for cancer therapeutic vaccines and diagnostics. This innovation has led to the formation of a spinout company, Oxford Vacmedix UK Ltd. Two candidates are close to clinical trials. Meanwhile the lab continues to focus on reaching an in-depth understanding of the immune pathways activated by ROPs and identifying additional targets that are amenable to the approach.

Another discovery at Dr Jiang’s Lab is a new biomarker, Inflammation Enhancer (IE). IE is an autoimmune disease factor - together with TNF, IE deteriorates inflammatory diseases such as sepsis and leads to high incidence of fatality. The lab is focusing on elucidating the pathway of IE that leads to inflammation. Diagnostic methods as well as treatments are also in development.


Alexander Stephens, DPhil Student

Yuqian Ou, DPhil Student

Sichen Liu, DPhil Student

Constantinos Demetriou, DPhil Student

Hanjun Zhao, DPhil Student

Yihan Zhou, MRes Student

Group Alumni & Next Destinations

Cedric Song Chan, PhD Student, University College London, UK

Jian Wang - Associate Professor, Southwest University, Chongqing, China

Rong Hu, Attending Doctor,  Assistant Professor, Department of Otolaryngology Beijing

Tongren Hospital, Capital Medical University, China

Sophie Owen - PhD Tropical Medicine, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, UK

Wenshu Lu - CEO, Shanghai Inflinhix Ltd

Neha Vashist-Postdoctoral Researcher, Würzburg, Bavaria, Germany

Jason Huang - Associate Medical Director, Oncology, Asia-Pacific at Merck Group, Singapore

Qiongyu Chen - Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME, USA

Hongwei Zhang - Associate Chief Physician, Beijing You'an Hospital, Capital Medical University, China

Hai Hong - Associate Professor, Sun Yat-Sen University, China

OVM-200 Phase I Clinical Trial featured on TV

ROP vaccine OVM-200 Phase I Clinical Trial featured on TV

The phase I clinical trial of cancer therapeutic vaccine OVM-200  at The Christie Hospital in Manchester was featured on ITV's Granada News on Wednesday 7th September 2022.

Read the full article and watch the video report here: Chorley mum with ovarian cancer first in North West to get new vaccine trialled at the Christie

Key publications

Recent publications

More publications