Recent advances in cancer immunotherapy have had a remarkable impact on the prognosis for many types of cancer. However, the response to this kind of treatment varies considerably amongst patients as well as different cancer types. Understanding what drives these differences on a molecular level is crucial in order to identify the best possible treatment for patients. My project specifically focuses on oesophageal cancer, which in its late stages currently has a five-year survival rate of only 20%. Using tissue and blood samples taken from patients before and after immunotherapy, my research aims to explore changes in the molecular composition of tumour-infiltrating immune cells pre- and post-treatment. By improving our understanding of which molecular markers correlate with response to immunotherapy, this research has the potential to guide effective patient selection.
Before starting my DPhil in Oxford, I studied Biomedical Sciences at the University of Bath. My course included an industrial placement year which I spent at Astex Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge. During this time I was working on identifying molecular subtypes of Small Cell Lung Cancer, a malignancy with an extremely poor prognosis and high unmet clinical need for better treatment options.