Boosting the immune system to improve breast cancer outcomes

Start Year: 2018
Finish Year: 2020
Chief Investigator: Dr David Herrmann
Institution: Garvan Institute of Medical Research

Immunotherapy uses the patient’s own immune system to attack cancer. This method has already shown great potential in several cancer types. However, breast cancer has learnt to protect itself from the immune system. As a result, the need to boost immunotherapy success in breast cancer has become a critical challenge for cancer patients, clinicians, health care workers and researchers alike.

David Herrmann
David Herrmann

This project, led by NBCF-funded Dr David Herrmann, aims to improve breast cancer survival and patient outcomes by augmenting immunotherapy performance. Two state-of-the art techniques will be utilised, the biosensor technology, minuscule glowing probes to track cancer cells, in combination with a surgically inserted titanium-framed glass window. Through this window live tumour cells labeled with the glowing probes, will be viewed inside a mouse and their response to therapy monitored in real time. Dr Herrmann has previously successfully used these technologies to monitor the spread and progression of cancer in a mouse model of pancreatic cancer.

In this study Dr Herrmann will apply this novel technique to tackle invasive and metastatic breast cancer. Such innovations offer an exciting opportunity to establish effective treatment regimens to boost immunotherapy, helping to improve the treatment and survival of breast cancer patients.