The accumulation of genetic alternations and the loss of cellular regulatory processes are characteristics of cancer. When the immune system fails to recognise and eliminate rogue cells and activate anti-tumour immunity, cells begin to replicate uncontrollably, transforming, outgrowing and becoming neoplasms and eventually invasive tumours. However, since Paul Ehrlich introduced the idea of immunotherapy more than 100 years ago, scientists have been investigating extensively how the host and tumour cell interactions could be manipulated in order to stimulate the immune cells to recognise and target cancer cells. This is the main aim of the current immunotherapeutic approaches.
Students will study and discuss the concept of cancer immunology, focusing on the immune cells involved in cancer elimination, their role in various tumour types, as well as the current immunotherapeutic strategies that exist in cancer treatment and are in the pipeline.