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Cancer and our immune system

How does cancer commandeer our immune system?

Jody Hazlett invesitagting the immune response in breast cancer
Assistant Research Fellow Jody Hazlett investigating the immune response in breast cancer.

The immune system can assist patient health by combating cancers, but it can also be hijacked by tumours and used to deliver factors required by cancer cells to grow. By understanding more about our bodies' own defence systems, we are learning how tumours can recruit immune cells for their own purposes. Once we know how the immune system is commandeered by cancers, we can target the mechanism.

Cancer and viruses

Some viruses are known to cause cancer. One is the human papillomavirus (HPV) which can cause cervical cancer.

Using HPV in the lab provides an extraordinary opportunity to explore tumour cell invasion, and to identify ways to treat it. Invasiveness is a defining step in malignancy. Any treatment that blocks invasion and the spread of cancer cells would drastically reduce cancer mortality.

Related topics

Research personnel

Our postgraduate students

  • Janet Rhodes (MMedSci)
  • Julia Leman (MSc)
  • Ginny Niemi 

Past Students

  • Georgia Bell (PGDipSci research project)
  • Andy Highton (PhD)
  • Ed Taylor (PhD)
  • Sam Norton (PhD)
  • Shirley Shen (MSc)