March 11, 2024

Cancer Research UK Partners with The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research to Pave Way for Personalized Immunotherapy Treatments

The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research has partnered with Cancer Research UK to fund a new Cancer Grand Challenges team.

Reprinted with permission from Cancer Research UK

Cancer Grand Challenges, a global cancer research initiative co-founded by Cancer Research UK and the National Cancer Institute in the US, yesterday announced five teams who will be awarded up to £100m to take on some of cancer’s toughest challenges.

The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research is supporting the new MATCHMAKERS team, who seek to understand how the immune system recognises cancer through T-cell receptors which are a type of ‘immune sensor’ that play a crucial role in identifying cancerous cells.

Being able to predict and better understand what T cells recognise in individual tumours will pave the way for personalised immunotherapies that redefine cancer care.

This is the third Cancer Grand Challenges team that The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research has co-funded with Cancer Research UK to tackle some of cancer’s most complex challenges, taking its total support for the initiative to over £26m.

“The MATCHMAKERS project uses immunology, engineering, and AI to decipher how T-cell receptors pair with antigens,” commented Ryan Schoenfeld, CEO, The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research. “The team’s approach to optimizing immunotherapy for cancer and many other diseases is exemplary of the type of interdisciplinary research The Mark Foundation prioritizes supporting.”

“Our commitment to large-scale, international team science is strong,” added Dr. Schoenfeld. “The success of our previously-funded Cancer Grand Challenges projects – one addressing immunotherapy for pediatric solid tumors and the other investigating tissue specificity in cancer – inspired us to continue support of this tremendous initiative.”

The Cancer Grand Challenges initiative takes a unique approach to collaboration, bringing together the brightest minds from across the world and across disciplines to form global teams who will pursue answers to some of the biggest challenges facing cancer research and the treatment of cancer patients today.

“In the tapestry of global health challenges, cancer stands out as the defining thread of our time,” says Cancer Research UK’s chief executive officer, Michelle Mitchell.

“Now, more than ever, we need to build on the success of the previous decades of cancer discoveries and go faster and further with the impact we have on people with cancer.

We are incredibly grateful to the Mark Foundation for Cancer Research for their continued partnership with Cancer Grand Challenges. This kind of partnership means that we can ask more questions that no one team or institution can tackle alone. Questions that if answered, could lead to a step-change in how we understand and treat cancer.”

Cancer Grand Challenges is one of four fundraising priorities for the More Research, Less Cancer campaign, which aims to raise £400 million to power life-changing research, which Cancer Research UK launched last month.

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