What research question does this study address, and what are the aims?

Colorectal cancer that has spread to other parts of the body (metastasised) is very difficult to treat, but advances have been made with therapies that help the immune system attack the cancer. However, not all patients respond to these therapies and we don’t know why.

When tumours spread to other organs, immune cells in that area are “corrupted” to help support cancer growth. This study will study the immune cells in liver metastases from colorectal cancers, and use this information to create advanced models in the lab that mimic the conditions. This allows the researchers to closely observe how immune cells are changed to support colorectal cancer growth in other organs. Knowing how the process works may uncover new ways to treat patients who are at risk of their cancer spreading.

The researcher

This study is led by Dr Luigi Ombrato, a Lecturer at the Barts Cancer Institute in London.