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Teaching immune cells old tricks: an innovative strategy for treating cancer

48 months
Approved budget:
Dr Kimiora Henare
Health issue:
Cancer (oncology)
Proposal type:
Māori Health Postdoctoral Fellowship
Lay summary
This project seeks to develop novel treatments for cancer by harnessing the natural abilities of immune cells to kill cancer cells. The proposed research pathway provides an excellent opportunity for the continued development of an emerging Maori leader in biomedical and cancer research, who is committed to building much-needed Maori workforce capacity in these fields. Extending from productive doctoral research, the project will capitalise on and contribute to a growing body of knowledge that implicates macrophages as cells that are important to tumour survival and progression, but also as potential targets for effective treatment. Multidisciplinary research methods incorporating immunology, cancer biology, molecular biology, and drug development will be combined to develop macrophage-polarising agents that are effective in humans. Innovations developed from the project will benefit Aotearoa through the development of new treatments for cancer, building Maori workforce capacity, and creation of experimental platforms to facilitate future drug development programmes.