Cancer immunology is revolutionising the treatment of cancer. At The University of Manchester, basic researchers and medical oncologists work closely together to expand our knowledge of the power of the immune system in fighting disease.
To combat immune recognition and elimination, tumours exhibit a plethora of evasive mechanisms.
However, the extent to which the immune system constitutes a natural barrier to cancer has been a long-lasting subject of debate. In the last few years, this notion has gained undisputable support following the clinical success of therapies aimed at harnessing cells from the immune system and limiting immune evasion by tumour cells. These unprecedented and outstanding outcomes – even in cancer types that were until recently considered as refractory to immune-based therapies – have fully reinvigorated the interest in the cancer immunology field.
But complete and durable responses have only been observed in a minority of patients and in selected cancer types. This highlights the need for basic, translational and clinical research to further uncover the mechanism of action of these treatments, and to identify novel immune pathways to target and increase the efficacy of cancer therapy.