Breakthrough: Immunotherapy

We’re very happy to see the wonderful news regarding immunotherapy and its effects on cancer travelling the globe today. Here at Cancer Research Wales, we are proud to fund projects centred around this particular avenue of research, including those focused on leukaemia, a topic featured in this morning’s headlines.


Most – if not all – cancers thrive because the immune system has lost its ability to eradicate cancerous cells, or at least keep them in check.

Dr Steve Man and his team, based at the Institute of Cancer and Genetics, are funded by Cancer Research Wales. They are investigating new ways to reactivate key immune cells that appear to have become exhausted and no longer efficient at deterring leukaemic cancer cells in the blood. This innovative work has the potential to develop completely novel therapies that could modulate the immune system to give long-term protection against Chronic Lymphoblastic Leukaemia – the most common type of blood cancer and the leading cause of death from leukaemia in the UK.


As we have learned from today’s reports, not all immune responses are favourable – if not harnessed properly they may lead to troublesome and sometimes fatal consequences. During Cancer Research Wales-sponsored research into cancer vaccines for inoperable metastatic bowel cancer, Professor Andrew Godkin has discovered that immune responses against seemingly potential vaccine candidates (CEA) can actually drive the progression of cancer.

However, this incredibly vital research is putting all the pieces of the complex jigsaw together for the benefit of cancer patients – today’s news is another giant stride towards beating cancer one and for all.