Oesophageal cancer has a poor prognosis and a rising incidence particularly in Western countries. The LUD2015-005 Trial is a Phase 1/2 study that investigates the merit of immunotherapy for oesophageal cancer patients. Immunotherapy has revolutionised the treatment of many cancers, such as melanoma, but only a fraction of patients with oesophageal cancer seem to respond to this therapy. By analysing patient samples from the LUD2015-005 trial, my research therefore aims to contribute to an understanding why some patients respond to immunotherapy and some do not, and if there is a way to predict who will respond. To this end I will be studying the role of certain immune cells and molecules, both within the tumour and in the blood in patients pre- and post-therapy. If successful, this work will help identify patients that will likely respond to immunotherapy or need further treatment and follow-up.
My research is funded by Cancer Research UK as part of their DPhil Cancer Science programme. Prior to starting at the Ludwig Institute, I have studied Medicine for four years at Oxford and will complete my final two years after my DPhil. In my studies I specialised in Immunology and Molecular Pathology. For my intercalated BSc I was involved in researching the role of inflammation in the blood-forming bone marrow microenvironment in children with Trisomy 21, who are predisposed to developing childhood leukaemia, with the Roberts lab in the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine. I have also gained additional research experience in the Centre of Translational Cell Research in Freiburg (Germany), and have been involved in trials with the Asymptomatic Covid-19 Staff Testing Team at the JR Hospital here in Oxford. Combining both medicine and science in my training will put me in a good position to positively impact the lives of cancer patients, and to pursue both my passion for the clinic and research.