Cancer Vaccine Institute

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This page lists some of the achievements of our Principal, Professor Gus Dalgleish and his team, both before and during the existence of the Cancer Vaccine Institute.

Why our research matters

Professor Dalgleish has been interested in vaccines for cancer for decades and has produced over 50 primary research articles in this field alone in addition to numerous review articles. As the field has progressed he has become interested in key elements which he believes will improve the performance of vaccines for cancer.

These fall into 4 areas:

His work with tumour cell and dendritic cell vaccines has convinced him that vaccines really can work and give benefit across a wide range of cancers. His work has demonstrated clinical responses to vaccines and has shown to a degree how underlying immune responses are important.

Professor Dalgleish is committed to the development of mycobacterial vaccines. In some cases these vaccines may work better, and are cheaper, than cellular vaccines. Mycobacterial vaccines may have the capacity to drive the kind of immune response that allows the body to attack tumours.

Some of the lessons learned from earlier vaccines allowed the development of Aldara as a topical treatment. Professor Dalgleish has speculated that other drugs with similar effects may be used to directly influence the immune response (i.e. instead of taking the cells out and stimulating them in the laboratory first).

It is clear that vaccines alone will not succeed in curing cancer. It has become clear that other factors are important in making vaccines more effective. Professor Dalgleish’s work now focuses in these areas:

  1. Professor Dalgleish has contributed work that supports the idea that tumours are suppressive to the immune system. His published and ongoing work with IMiDs suggests that these drugs may be used to alter the nature of immune suppression and will boost anti-tumour immune responses.
  2. Professor Dalgleish has felt for some time that some patients respond to vaccines because of drugs that have been given to patients either before or subsequent to vaccination. This is now supported by our work and others’. The work with Gemcitabine and Zometa indicate how tumours might be sensitised to killing by immune cells, indicating how combination of these drugs with vaccines might be beneficial to patients.

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