London: harnessing the power of the immune system to treat cancer
Dr Caetano Reis e Sousa: Hi. I am Caetano Reis e Sousa and I am the head of the immunobiology laboratory at the Cancer Research UK London Research Institute.
Titleboard: What are you researching?
Dr Reis e Sousa: Cancer research encompasses a broad spectrum of research from the very basic studies on fundamental principles of cancer biology to the very clinical studies where you therapies are actually being tried in patients. In this laboratory, we work very much at the basic research and trying to reveal new principles of immune function that might pave the way for the development of therapies that we cannot even envisage at present.
Dr Reis e Sousa: As you may know we all have a body of white blood cells in our body that help us fight infection. It has become apparent that in some circumstances this very same army of cells can also attack and destroy tumors. This is called cancer immunotherapy and it is one of the most exciting areas of cancer research today. My laboratory is at the forefront of efforts to try and understand how it is that this army of white blood cells is naturally mobilized in response to infection by fungi, bacteria, and viruses and to try and understand whether we can make responses against tumors more robust by mimicking signs of infection.
Titleboard: What motivates you in your research?
Dr Reis e Sousa: The work that we do not only brings us the personal satisfaction of understanding things that we didn’t understand before but also bringing something into being that will have potential future benefit for patients.
Titleboard: How will your findings benefit patients?
Dr Reis e Sousa: These are exciting times for cancer immunotherapy. So much has been learnt in the last few years that herald a whole new era for cancer vaccines and therapies. However, we are still at an early stage and in order to translate these basic discoveries into actual therapies, a lot more work to be done.
Titleboard: Why are fundraisers so important?
Dr Reis e Sousa: Every aspect of our research effort is funded by Cancer Research UK which means that every penny that we spend on this research has been donated by people like you.
Titleboard: A final message…
Dr Reis e Sousa: We thank you very much for all of your support and encouragement. There's a lot of work to be done, but we can do it and with your help that can be done.
Support Professor Reis e Sousa's research into immunotherapy today.
Donate at: www.cancerresearchuk.org/myprojects.