I read Biochemistry at the University of Bath, following which I started working for the ICVI at St George’s as a research technician. During my time at St George’s, I’ve researched dendritic cell vaccination of melanoma patients, the anti-cancer properties of newly synthesised anti-malarial compounds and the feasibility of immunotherapy/chemotherapy combinations. I am now studying for a part time PhD. My work focuses on the drug Gemcitabine, a chemotherapeutic agent which has been used for some years in the treatment of pancreatic cancer. Several years ago I did some research which indicated that Gemcitabine has some immunological effects on tumour cells. Specifically it increases the amount of a molecule called “MHC class I” on a range of tumour cells in culture. This is a potentially important observation since this molecule is what allows T cells to recognise and kill tumour cells.
My project has shown several key features of tumour cell responses to Gemcitabine which we hope to publish soon. This work could have a real impact on how cancer patients are treated in the future.
My work, and that of Thanu is inspired by Professor Dalgleish’s interest in combination therapies; he has long believed that immunotherapy in combination with chemotherapy is an effective cancer treatment.
None of my work would have been possible without the efforts of the supporters of the ICVI and I am really grateful to you all.