What is the topic of this study?

The project is designed to test a new type of immunotherapy for bowel cancer. This research team have been developing a new type of immune therapy for cancer that targets a type of immune cells called natural killer (NK) cells. NK cells are early responders to infection and cancer. They can directly kill cancer cells, or they can stimulate other aspects of the immune system to generate a more effective anti-cancer response. NK cell therapy is developing rapidly, with 136 clinical trials of these therapies currently recruiting, 8 of which are for colorectal cancer.

What is the aim of this study?

These researchers have identified a protein called NOTUM made in high quantities by colorectal cancer cells, which could be used to develop a DNA vaccine that would sensitise NK cells against colorectal cancer cells. This funding will allow them to test this method in a mouse model, an important step in safety and feasibility testing before a human clinical trial could be conducted.

The research team

This project is led by Professor Salim Khakoo who is based at the University of Southampton.