Skip to 0 minutes and 23 seconds BEN WILLCOX: I’m Ben Wilcox. I’m a Professor of Molecular Immunology at the University of Birmingham and also director of the University’s Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy Centre, or CIIC. My own research is focused on understanding how receptors on the surface of our immune cells enable them to recognise signs of abnormality on target cells, and on how we can exploit this to find new ways to treat the disease
Skip to 0 minutes and 45 seconds HEATHER LONG: I’m Dr. Heather Long. I’m a lecturer and immunologist based at the University of Birmingham. My research focuses on understanding how the immune system can control viruses associated with cancer.
Skip to 0 minutes and 56 seconds GARY MIDDLETON: Hello, my name is Gary Middleton. I’m a Professor of Medical Oncology at the University Hospital Birmingham. I’ve also got a contract with the University of Birmingham. My two main clinical interests are colorectal cancer and lung cancer, two big killers, still, and particular, preclinical and translational interests, that again, really are in immunobiology, particularly in understanding what sort of cells stop the immune system from working.
Skip to 1 minute and 19 seconds BEN WILLCOX: In Birmingham, we are uniquely placed to explain how the immune system can be used to treat cancer. Right at the heart of the campus is the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, one of the largest teaching hospitals in Europe. Linked to the hospital is the University’s Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy Centre– or CIIC, as we call it– a collaborative grouping of scientists and clinicians specifically focused on understanding the science behind these new therapies and on developing new immunotherapies to fight the disease. Birmingham is also fortunate to host the Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit, one of the largest clinical trials units for cancer in the whole of Europe.
Skip to 1 minute and 55 seconds HEATHER LONG: Cancer affects all of us. It is very likely that you know someone who has died of the disease. In the UK alone, up to one in two people are predicted to be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. And although great advances are being made in cancer treatment, with over 50% of those diagnosed likely to survive, there is still a long way to go. The disease kills over 12 million people worldwide every year. We desperately need new ways to tackle cancer.
Skip to 2 minutes and 23 seconds BEN WILLCOX: The idea of harnessing the power of the immune system to fight cancer has actually been around for a long time. But until recently, it has had limited impact in terms of how we actually treat most cancer patients. That picture is now changing dramatically. Clinical trial results over the last five years or so have marked this area out as a real turning point in the fight against cancer, and one of the most exciting, fast-moving areas in the whole of clinical medicine.
Skip to 2 minutes and 50 seconds GARY MIDDLETON: I can remember sitting in the audience at our main American meeting in 2012, when the first stage was presented, and I was blown away by this. These were patients where we were using treatments to block– something that stops the immune system from working in cancer. And we were seeing some really amazing results.
Skip to 3 minutes and 6 seconds BEN WILLCOX: The idea of exploiting the patient’s own immune system to target their tumour, which is such a different approach to conventional anti-cancer treatments, has turned from a pipe dream into a therapeutic reality. In this course, we will explain some of the key ideas behind cancer immunotherapy. What is the immune system? And what has the immune system got to do with cancer? How do the new cancer immunotherapies work? How can we engineer smart immune cells to target cancer cells? Can we personalise immunotherapy approaches to individual patients?
Skip to 3 minutes and 39 seconds HEATHER LONG: If you’re interested in how the immune system can recognise cancer, how new immunotherapies work, what is the future of cancer immunotherapy, then sign up for our free course.