Immunobiology of Cancer Group
Our group investigates how highly malignant tumours suppress the immune system.
Osteosarcoma is a highly malignant tumour of bone and the third most common cancer in the children and adolescent population. Patients are commonly treated with aggressive surgery and intensive adjuvant chemotherapy that can result in life-long morbidity. The five-year survival rate for those with metastatic or recurrent disease is less than 25%. This rate has remained unchanged for the past 30 years.
Our goal is to identify new treatment options for patients with osteosarcoma. Using preclinical models of osteosarcoma developed in the lab, we investigate the immunobiology of osteosarcomas that allows them to evade detection by the immune system and ways in which this could be therapeutically targeted.
Our areas of interest include using genomic technologies to investigate molecular sculpting of the tumour by the immune system in vivo, giving insights into the role of inflammatory cytokines, immune checkpoint blockade, novel immune adjuvants and chemotherapy. Preclinical studies investigating the inflammatory cytokine IL-23 have been translated into a clinical trial within the Molecular Screening and Therapeutics (MoST) program, to determine for the first time whether blocking IL-23 with tildrakizuamb (Sun Pharma) has clinical benefit in patients with bone and soft tissue sarcomas (trial initiated in April 2021).