Design a site like this with
Get started

What does the immune system have to do with cancer?

What does the immune system have to do with cancer? What exactly is immunotherapy? Join us for a Cancer Research UK and Science on Google+ Hangout on Air as we speak to Professor Frances Balkwill and Professor Ben Willcox about cancer immunotherapy. 

Fran is a Professor of Cancer Biology at Queen Mary University in London and is a fantastic science communicator. Her research focuses on the links between cancer and inflammation. Ben is a Professor of Molecular Immunology at the University of Birmingham and his work focuses on understanding immune receptor recognition. 


This HOA will be hosted by Dr Buddhini Samarasinghe  and Dr Kat Arney . You can tune in on Friday July 24th at 4 PM UK time. The hangout will be available for viewing on our YouTube channel ( after the event.


Join the Conversation


  1. Im on Imunotherapy Trial MK3475 for Mesothelioma and I have so much shrinkage it is causing the Doctors at the Royal Marsden to jump with joy at every scan 2 marker tumours have disappeared and another is barely visible so over 75% shrinkage and my body tolerates the drug really well no side effects apart from dry skin and itching. This really is the way to go far better than chemo which I have had to much of 4 x 6 sessions. I couldnt walk only with a simmer frame on wheels and a walking stick which are now in the shed


  2. Fascinating discussion. Especially interested in the combination therapies. I have one burning question. Should emerging immunotherapies be used in combination with chemotherapy or not? I was diagnosed with mesothelioma 13 years ago. I now have a recurrence. In fact it may never have gone away. I am about to start a new trial (Meso 2 or Galaxy) which involves a combination of chemo (Pemetrexed and Carbo-platin) plus an immunotherapy drug (Ganetspib) which targets a Heat Shock 90 protein – whatever that is. I’m not totally happy with the chemo part because it strikes me it could actually work against the immunotherapy drug for reasons you’ve outlined in the discussion. Am I right to have this concern or is there enough evidence to suggest this sort of combination is good?


  3. Sue Hull thank you for the feedback, I’m really happy to hear you enjoyed the discussion. It’s best if you speak to your oncology team about possible drug interactions with your combination treatment. As to HSP90 inhibitors, they’re a brand new class of drugs that can help stop cancer cells from dividing – here’s more info


  4. My husband has leukemia and is in remission at the moment due to his treatment three years ago with Rituximab.. He however has other auto-immunine diseases combined with his leukemia. ie ITP and Gilberts syndrome.  He is now off steroids and however he has now contracted a severe reaction to sunlight. Any ideas as to how he can cope with this debilitating scenario which causes people to look at him as if he is a leper.

    Many thanks for this hangout, very useful information and would like to say many thanks for all the Profs who took part. Maybe by sharing things we can eventually help others and I am sure that this is why you are doing this. Thank you all for your time, some stuff I did not understand but will be able to take some comments along to his consultant.  Thank you for sharing your research and information. One grateful wife xxx



  5. Anita Cooper thanks for your comment and I’m so sorry to hear about your husband’s adverse reaction to sunlight. Unfortunately I’m not aware of anything to mitigate how people react to this, but definitely worth checking with your doctor. It’s great to hear his leukaemia is in remission though. Thank you so much for the feedback, I really hope that by making it easier to understand these topics, we’re making a scary disease a bit less scary. Goodluck to you both!


  6. Just started watching. Excellent and very informative. I am currently receiving Keytruda (42 doses so far) for metastic melanoma. This amazing drug, has undoubtedly saved my life. Everything is nice and stable, with huge reductions in tumour sizes, and very few side effects. If I am being honest, I have had none. Feel very blessed and extremely lucky. Thank you all.


  7. Thanks for sharing this, very informative few questions, i believe the cancer cells will have a self defense mechanism, so that comes under cell’s immunology, can’t we design a virus (virology) based on the type of the cancer and target them? such that immune system, of cancerous cells gets weaken and dies at the end ? How far is this achievable ? As per some research its been said certain cancer cells tend to have virus, can’t we use virus to fight against virus Buddhini Samarasinghe Kat Arney 


  8. I have watched the recording of this HOA and found it very interesting. I was lucky enough to have had a colon cancer discovered early enough to have it removed. I was given the option to have chemo treatment, which I declined.

    Thank you for sharing your expertise and knowledge and it was a well produced video.


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: