How to harness the immune system to cure cancer: adoptive cell immunotherapy

Research Opportunity
PhD, Masters by Research, Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
Number of Honour Places Available
Microbiology and Immunology
Doherty Institute
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Professor Jose Villadangos Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Justine Mintern Personal web page

Project Details

Tumour cells express neo-antigens that can be recognized by cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL). These tumour-specific CTL can be isolated from tumour biopsies or manufactured in vitro by genetic engineering. They can then be expanded and inoculated into the patient to kill cancer. This approach is revolutionizing cancer treatment. Unfortunately, in many individuals the tumour ”fights back” and inactivates the infused CTL, compromising the therapy.

This project will exploit a mouse model of lymphoma to improve outcomes of adoptive cell therapy. We can reproduce successful vs impaired CTL immunotherapy. We have identified genes potentially involved in each outcome. Using multiphoton live microscopy, we can also visualise the interactions between tumour cells and the CTL in the living animal. Our goal is to apply our findings to the clinic and improve the efficacy of adoptive cell therapy. The aims of this project will be to identify genes that control the outcome of adoptive cell therapy, and characterise the interactions between T cells and the tumour. This project is funded by the Cancer Council of Australia and the Cancer Research institute of the USA.

Further reading

Jose A. Villadangos, 2016, Immunol. Rev. 272:169-182.

Faculty Research Themes

Cancer, Infection and Immunology

School Research Themes

Cancer in Biomedicine, Infection & Immunity

Research Opportunities

PhD, Masters by Research, Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.


Microbiology and Immunology

Research Group / Unit / Centre

Villadangos laboratory: Antigen presenting cells & molecules that initiate T cell immunity against pathogens and cancer

Research Node

Doherty Institute

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