Leveraging stem-like memory T cells for effective anti-cancer mRNA vaccines

Immune Therapy

Lead Researcher: Associate Professor Joanna Groom

Institution: WEHI (The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research)

Funding: $450,000

Funding Duration: 2023-2025

Drugs that target the immune system have revolutionised the treatment of solid cancers such as bowel, breast, lung and brain cancers and melanoma. These therapies work by restoring a patient’s own immune system and enhancing its ability to attack cancer. However, this approach is usually only effective in the short term and for more than half of patients this treatment isn’t effective at all.

The Research  
Associate. Professor Joanna Groom and team have identified a novel approach that induces a specific type of immune cell, which is responsible for tumour clearance following immune therapy.  

Assoc. Prof. Groom and team will identify the immunotherapy settings where these immune cells can be harnessed to provide potent and long-lasting anti-cancer activity. They will then explore how this approach can be used in a vaccine strategy either alone or in combination with immune therapy against a range of solid tumours.

The multi-cancer approach allows Assoc. Prof. Groom and team to understand where and how this vaccine strategy can be used therapeutically. The ultimate goal is to develop an anti-cancer vaccine for use where existing immune therapies fail and to protect patients from metastasis and recurrent tumours.

The Impact  
The information gained will be critical for the development of precision vaccines that provide long-term benefit to a wider number of cancer patients.


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