Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

An international team of scientists has been shortlisted out of 134 applications spanning 41 countries.

cruk-awardProf Vincenzo Cerundolo, Director of the MRC Human Immunology Unit (Radcliffe Department of Medicine, University of Oxford), is one of 16 investigators in the shortlisted team, led by Prof Lindy Durrant from The University of Nottingham/Scancell Ltd. Their proposed project aims to investigate how personalised cancer vaccines might be used to eradicate tumours in the future.

Therapies designed to boost our body’s immune system have revolutionised the treatment of cancer. However, these treatments don’t work in all patients, or against all cancers. This is partially due to our limited understanding of how the immune system interacts with tumour cells, but also because currently available immune-boosting therapies – known as ‘cancer vaccines’ – only target a small number of antigenic peptides, often only triggering a weak response by our immune system.

Prof Vincenzo CerundoloProf Vincenzo CerundoloIn order to create better cancer vaccines, the team wants to screen a large number of tumour antigens and use machine learning tools to predict which of these would trigger a good immune response in individual patients with cancer. Meanwhile they will test and develop new and more efficient ways of delivering the treatment. Armed with this knowledge, the team will then test their ideas in investigator-initiated clinical studies – with a special focus on patients with head and neck cancer, pancreatic cancer, lung cancer and one type of brain tumour. This will allow the team to build templates for how to treat different cancers. If successful, these templates will allow doctors to easily identify which antigens to target, and then which type of vaccine to use, to create truly bespoke vaccines for each patient and radically improving survival on a global scale.

The Grand Challenge award aims to revolutionise how we diagnose, prevent and treat cancer by providing international multi-disciplinary teams the freedom to try novel approaches, at scale, in the pursuit of life changing discoveries. Prof Cerundolo’s team will receive seed-funding of up to £30,000 to draft their full research proposal, and the winning proposal will be announced in autumn 2018.

Similar stories

Join us at the IF Science and Ideas Festival

Come down to Templars Shopping Centre on 23rd or 24th October 2021 for ‘Science at the Shops’ as part of IF Oxford Science and Ideas Festival.

Blood tests may predict response to immunotherapy for melanoma

A study from the Fairfax lab provides new insight into the factors that determine patient response to Immune Checkpoint Blockers, a common immunotherapy treatment for melanoma.

Hashem Koohy receives Turing Fellowship

Fellows are established scholars with proven research excellence in data science, artificial intelligence (AI), or a related field.

Professor Graham Ogg elected Academy of Medical Sciences Fellow

Fellows are selected for their exceptional contributions to the advancement of medical science through innovative research discoveries and translating scientific developments into benefits for patients and the wider society.