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Lane wins grant to investigate TNFR regulation of anti-tumour immunity

Article Date: 01.10.13
Category: Science stories

Professor Peter Lane has won a prestigious Medical Research Council Programme grant to examine how members of theĀ  tumour necrosis factor receptor (TNFR) family regulate immune responses, including those directed against solid tumours.

The work, to be carried out with Professor Antal Rot also based at the University of Birmingham, will examine how manipulation of Tumour Necrosis Factor Receptor (TNFR) family interactions with specific ligands might influence anti-tumour responses. A significant focus will be on the TNFR family members OX40 and CD30.

Studies in the last 2 years have highlighted the clinical potential of a new form of immunotherapy termed “checkpoint blockade”. Clinical trials carried out in the context of melanoma and lung cancer have shown that antibody blockade of inhibitory receptors such as CTLA-4 and PD-1/PD-L1 can unleash strong and therapeutically significant effector responses from tumour infiltrating lymphocytes.

However, in some cases, these strategies also unleash powerful immune responses against healthy tissue, resulting in serious side-effects. Professor Lane’s fundamental immunology studies will shed light on how these receptors regulate immune responses, and will examine effects on blocking them on both autoimmunity and experimental cancer models. The programme of work should highlight new checkpoint blockade strategies and targets, and provide a rational basis for design of safe and effective approaches to eliciting strong anti-tumour responses.

To read more about Peter Lane’s research, click here.