Please Donate ICVI’s 20th birthday

Gamma Delta T cells in the infiltration and destruction of prostate tumour organoids.

Valentina Capizzuto has recently joined the St. George’s University as a Research Technician. Valentina studied for a Master’s Degree in Biomedicine in Parma in Dr C. Ferrari’s virology, immunology and infectious diseases lab working on the Natural Killer cells exhaustion and on the PD-1/PD-L1 role in hepatocellular carcinoma. Valentina then joined Southampton University Hospital to work in Dr S.I. Khakoo’s immunology lab to study the ability of natural killer cells to kill tumour cells. Valentina is fascinated in the immune system, the mechanisms by which the tumour evades immune responses and how we can improve immune responses against cancer.

Valentina’s ICVI research at St Georges University of London is focused on immunotherapy. In collaboration with Dr Peter Smith and other ICVI colleagues, Valentina is researching how dendritic cells (DCs), which play a central role in immune responses, can be activated to enhanceimmunotherapy.

Valentina is also involved in a research project studying the role of γδ-T cells in the infiltration and destruction of prostate tumour organoids. This involves the development of a 3D cell model which aims to recapitulate early stages of prostate cancer. This model is amenable to genetic and pharmacological approaches aiming to identify cellular and molecular components that may be involved in prostate cancer progression and to investigate the recruitment and infiltration of activated γδ-T cells into the tumour structure to help optimise their immunotherapeutic potential.

In addition to these pre-clinical studies Valentina is involved in studying the effectiveness of a novel cancer immunotherapy called IMM-101. IMM-101 is a mycobacterial adjuvant thought to be capable of priming anti-tumour immunity. IMM-101 is hypothesised to have a beneficial effect on cancer immunotherapy by promoting the induction of both innate and adaptive immunity and therefore improve immunotherapies such as checkpoint inhibition which are currently not successful in all patients. We hypothesize that the addition of IMM-101 can activate the anti-tumour response, probably mediated through the activation of dendritic cells. Valentina is working on a clinical trial with Dr Alberto Fusi and Dr Peter Smith to study IMM-101 and checkpoint inhibition in Melanoma patients.