The importance of the immune system in breast cancer is increasingly being recognised. Tumour infiltrating lymphocytes are associated with enhanced efficacy of standard of care treatments (e.g. chemotherapy) and increased patient survival.

The efficacy of these therapies is severely limited by tumour-induced immunosuppresssion, including the recruitment/activation of immunosuppressive cellular subsets such as regulatory T cells (Tregs). Treg depletion in tumour bearing mice dramatically enhances the efficacy of chemotherapy/ radiotherapy, often resulting in eradication of tumours.

However, the potential of Treg depletion is yet to be realised clinically due to the lack of available technology. Current strategies are limited by their inability to distinguish effector T cells (anti-tumour) and regulatory T cells (pro-tumour). CIC Perrow has developed liposome nanotechnology that this project aims to utilise to specifically deplete or reprogram Tregs.

The aims of this project are to:

  1. Develop liposomes capable of depletion/reprogramming of Tregs in vitro and in vivo
  2. Assess the impact of Treg targeting liposomes on tumour growth
  3. Develop liposomes capable of targeting human Tregs and validate in vitro

Funding body

National Breast Cancer Foundation

Scheme name

Innovator Grant

Years funded

2016 – 2018

Lead institution

University of Melbourne

Research area