Lung cancer

Building on Southampton's strength in harnessing the body’s immune system to fight cancer (immunotherapy), to develop new, personalised treatments for lung cancer patients.


Key investigator: Christian Ottensmeier

Prof Christian Ottensmeier leads our research into lung cancer, working at the forefront of research in immunotherapy and cancer vaccines.

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Immunotherapy for lung cancer 

 Around 44,500 people are diagnosed with lung cancer each year in the UK; over 90% die within five years of diagnosis.

It's particularly challenging to treat because very often no noticebable symptoms appear until it has spread through the lungs or body.Caught late like this, surgery is often the only option for 1 in 5 patients

Whilst our immune system can spot some changes to cells due to cancer and destroy them as a threat, these cells quickly evolve to evade it. Our approach aims to present the immune system with characteristic fetaures of the cancer cells in a vaccine so that it can once again spot and kill them itself.

Predicting who will benefit

Immunotherapy is successful in 50% of patients - working out why some don't benefit and improving that success rate is a key focus.By studying immune and genetic changes in lung cancer tissue, we aim to develop cancer profiles predicting which patients will benefit, and personalise their treatment.

Developing personalised vaccines

Because every cancer in every patient is different,our second major focus is on giving each person a therapy optimised for their specific cancer profile and immune status is our second major focus.

To pursue this we are using our £4 million CRUK accelerator award to develop personalised vaccines for lung cancer patient, targeting the specific changes in their cancerous cells.

Working with La Jolla Institute of Allergy and Immunology, these vaccines will prime the patient’s immune system to detect and attack their lung cancer.