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Centenary Institute - Medical Research
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Medical Research Seminar: Mechanisms of tumour immune evasion and implications for immunotherapy

August 3 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Associate Professor Jane Olario

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

About the Talk: Immunotherapies that enhance cytotoxic lymphocyte activity against tumour cells have revolutionised modern cancer treatment. A limitation to these approaches is that the number and functionality of lymphocytes can vary significantly within tumors, leading to variation in the proportion of patients who respond positively to immunotherapy. Furthermore, intrinsic or acquired genetic mutations can determine the sensitivity or resistance of tumours to immunotherapy approaches such as checkpoint blockade and adoptive cell therapy. Here, we have applied CRISPR-based genetic screening approaches to uncover mechanisms of tumor immune evasion. Our results highlight a role for TNF-mediated bystander killing as a potent cytotoxic lymphocyte effector mechanism that can be enhanced by a class of drugs, called smac-mimetics, that sensitise tumour cells to TNF-induced cell death. Indeed, we showed that the smac-mimetic, birinapant, significantly enhances CAR-T cell therapy in a solid tumour model. The data generated has also identified new genes and pathways that may predict response to treatment or be therapeutically targeted to improve the number of patients that benefit from immunotherapy.

About the Speaker: A/Prof Jane Oliaro is a Group Leader in the Centre for Cancer Immunotherapy and Chief Scientist for the Centre of Excellence in Cellular Immunotherapy Translation Laboratory at the PeterMacCallum Cancer Centre. Jane completed a BSc (Hons) at Monash University in Melbourne, aPhD at Massey University in New Zealand, followed by postdoctoral training in France (INSERM, Montpellier) and Australia (Peter Mac). Jane’s research program using a range of immune-based assays, genetic screening and preclinical models to dissect the complex interplay between the immune system and cancer, with a particular focus on tumor immune evasion and resistance to immunotherapies such as checkpoint blockade and CAR-T cell therapy. She also leads a preclinical program focused on the development of novel cell-based immunotherapies for translation into pilot clinical trials through the Centre of Excellence in Cellular Immunotherapy.

Read more about A/Prof Olario’s research here.


August 3
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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