Immunotherapy is an innovative treatment that modulates the body’s immune system to fight disease.

Our researchers are using their knowledge of the immune system to develop immunotherapies for cancer and immune disorders.

Immunotherapy research at the Institute

Our researchers are:

  • Discovering how immune cells respond to, and kill, tumour cells with the goal of finding new ways to manipulate this process to target cancer.
  • Studying whether immune cells can be harnessed to treat brain cancer without triggering significant side effects.
  • Investigating whether immune checkpoint inhibitors could improve treatment of people with certain types of lung, stomach and breast cancer.
  • Examining natural killer cell biology to find ways to use these cells therapeutically, for example to treat melanoma.
  • Developing immunotherapies to treat coeliac disease and type 1 diabetes.

What is immunotherapy?

Your immune system plays a vital role in protecting you from harmful organisms and substances. It can fight off bacteria and viruses that invade your body, and also destroy cancer cells that arise within your body.

Unfortunately, however, cancer cells often find ways to stop your immune system from eliminating them.

Immunotherapy can help boost the body’s immune system, enabling it to successfully fight off cancer cells. This type of immunotherapy – known as cancer immunotherapy – has been hailed as one of the biggest breakthroughs in cancer treatment in a generation.

In other cases, an overactive immune system can cause disease. Some people have an immune system that inappropriately responds to harmless substances such as gluten in food. This triggers immune illnesses such as coeliac disease.

In these cases, immunotherapy aims to specifically dampen or suppress these abnormal immune responses to treat the underlying cause of disease and reduce symptoms.

Find out how you can support our research

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Illuminate Autumn 2024
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