Mark John Smyth, Ph.D., FAHMS, CLIP InvestigatorQIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute (Australia)

This grant is vital for us to convert some basic information about natural killer cells and tumors into a new type of immunotherapy.
Area of Research: All Cancers

Natural killer (NK) cells are a type of immune cells known for their potent cancer-killing ability, but under some circumstances cancer cells are able to avoid elimination by immune cells, including by NK cells. How cancers do this is not entirely understood, so Dr. Mark Smyth is investigating a particular protein—TGF-B—that appears to render NK cells ineffective against tumors, by converting them into a type of immune cell that may actually help promote tumor growth. Specifically, Dr. Smyth is further probing this NK cell conversion to understand the molecular mechanisms that control this process as well as its consequences on overall immune activity. Additionally, he’s devised and is testing new strategies that block TGF-B’s effects on NK cells in order to determine the effectiveness of this potentially new class of immunotherapies.

Projects and Grants

Targeting NK cell differentiation in cancer

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute (Australia) | All Cancers | 2017

The pre-clinical validation of CD96 as a checkpoint target for cancer immunotherapy

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute (Australia) | Breast Cancer, Leukemia, Lung Cancer, Melanoma | 2015

Targeting adenosine in the tumor microenvironment

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute (Australia) | All Cancers, Breast Cancer, Lung Cancer, Melanoma | 2015

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