My Ph.D. research is focused on novel genetic engineering strategies to convert inhibitory cell signalling pathways from an ‘off switch’ to an ‘on switch’, thereby super-charging the immune response against cancer. Cancer immunotherapy is a rapidly growing field of research which has led to several unprecedented advances in cancer treatment. Key to immunotherapy’s success are T cells, a type of white blood cell that can recognize and kill cancer cells. Using new genetic engineering techniques I aim to ‘re-wire’ inhibitory checkpoint molecules so to generate stimulatory rather than inhibitory signals in T cells, thereby “tricking” cancer cells into delivering a positive stimulus to T cells. This strategy offers a new approach to overcome tumor inhibition and improve adoptive cell therapy against solid cancers.
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