Characterising the immunopeptidome to improve immunotherapy in head and neck cancer

Tag: New treatment

<strong>Tag:</strong> New treatment

Project type:
PhD Project

Project Leader:
Dr Jyoti Choudhary and Prof Kevin Harrington

Miriam Melake (pictured)

Commencement date:  
January 2020

Length of project:
4 years

Funding provided:

Oracle Cancer Trust

The Institute of Cancer Research

Immunotherapy represents a revolutionary approach to treat cancer, but many human cancers are resistant to immunotherapy, for reasons poorly understood.

Many head and neck cancer patients develop recurrent disease and there is a pressing need to find new and better treatments to eradicate it. Immunotherapy has proven promising for head and neck cancer, but we need to understand how it works so that we can improve it and provide effective treatment to the majority of patients for whom it does not work at present.

In this project, we will characterise the proteins shown on the surface of cancer cells for inspection by the immune system (the so-called immunopeptidome) in model cell lines and from patient samples. These molecules provide direct communication between the tumour and immune cells and the nature of the immunopeptidome repertoire in different tumours is thought to play a key role in determining whether, or not, immunotherapy will be effective.

This project will use immunoproteomics to identify molecular markers of tumour cell sensitivity and resistance to killing by cytotoxic T cell, the effectors of anti-tumour immunity.

The resulting data will provide new information about HNC that will help in the development of new immunotherapies and provide patient classification to enable personalised therapy.

Science laboratory research and development concept. microscope

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