Generating biologics to modulate IFITM1 in cancer and infection

University of Edinburgh

Active award

Student: Erisa Nita

Year Award Started: 2017

A major difficulty in treating cancers is the ability of tumour cells to mount a defence against the patient’s own immune system. Our research has identified a receptor (a protein that detects signals) implicated in resistance to both conventional drugs and immunotherapies (aiming to activate the patient’s immune system). The receptor has segments that are exposed on the outside of the cell and can, therefore, be targeted using ‘Biologic’ drugs based on naturally occurring substances (in this case moncolonal antibodies; MAb). Biologics can specifically home-in on a target to activate cancer cell killing and our industrial partner is a world-leader in the development of synthetic MAb’s (produced in microorganisms rather than animals). The student will develop and validate antibodies that target the cancer-causing receptor. The receptor is also involved in preventing some viral infections so the Biologics will also be screened for anti-viral activity. We expect to generate MAb’s that can regulate cancer cell growth and/or viral infection. As well we will provide cutting-edge training at the boundary of biology and industrial science. Opportunites for the generation of intellectual property are high, and impact on patients that have treatment-resistant cancers or chronic-viral infections could result from the research.

Research area: Cancer


Professor Kathryn Ball
MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine
Professor Jürgen Haas
Division of Infection and Pathway Medicine

Scotia Biologics Ltd