Cancer immunotherapies harness the power of our immune systems to fight cancer – unleashing the immune system’s ability to recognise and eliminate cancer cells anywhere in the body.

Because immunotherapy can ‘train’ the immune system to remember cancer cells, this may result in longer-lasting remissions. Immunotherapy can work on many different types of cancer and offers the possibility for long-term cancer treatment.

Mater has a broad range of research projects in immunotherapy, and nine current clinical trials in cancers including ovarian, kidney, lung and other solid tumours.

In attempting to identify which cancers will respond to immunotherapies, Professor Kristen Radford’s lab is reclassifying cancers based on their behaviours. This new classification should give clinicians a flexible, innovative tool to determine the best possible treatment for each patient.

But there is still a lot of work to be done to bring the full of promise of immunotherapies to bear. Results vary from patient to patient, and not every patient responds to the current treatments available.

Some of the current challenges of immunotherapies research are:

  1. Determining who will respond to current treatments.
  2. Determining the response they will have, and if it can be improved.
  3. Understanding whether we can increase the number of patients who will respond to these treatments.

Mater is playing a key role in overcoming such challenges, by developing better models to show how the immune system reacts to cancer; investigating novel combinations of drugs to find the best treatments; and exploring biomarkers to determine who will respond to immunotherapies treatments.

Research is the most important tool we have in the fight against some of the major challenges facing healthcare today. Your donations to Mater Foundation are funding incredible advances that can change lives.