Immune-regulatory functions of group 2 innate lymphoid cells in cancer

Year of award: 2016


  • Dr Timotheus Halim

    University of Cambridge

Project summary

Despite advances in cancer immunotherapy, there are still many unknowns that limit our ability to harness the power of the immune system to fight cancer.

My research will investigate the function of a recently discovered immune-regulatory cell called group 2 innate lymphocytes (ILC2), which I have shown to be critical for establishing a type of inflammation that promotes allergy and cancer formation. I found that these cells greatly increase during the course of tumour development in the pancreas. My research will leverage reagents that target ILC2 to determine their role in pancreatic cancer. This work may lead to new therapies that prevent the development of this disease. Moreover, we now understand that ILC2 are fundamental in allergies, and it is known that cancer patients with asthma are more likely to develop lung metastasis. My preliminary work suggests that ILC2 play a role in creating an immune environment in the lungs that helps the process of metastatic seeding. My proposed research will investigate the role of ILC2 in lung metastasis.

My findings could be used to help develop therapies to combat the spread of cancer.