T Cell Immunity Group
Our group has a long-standing interest in T cell responses against oncogenic human papillomaviruses (1-6).
We developed techniques to detect weak T cell responses against HPV, define CD8 and CD4 epitopes and to isolate T cell clones capable of killing cervical cancer cells.
T cell responses against viral and tumour associated antigens
We test T cell responses in a phase I clinical trial of an HPV vaccine in oropharyngeal cancer patients.
More recently the laboratory has been involved in the definition of novel T cell antigens. This is based on the concept that aberrant proteasomal degradation of key regulatory proteins induced by viral infection/transformation will generate novel epitopes. We demonstrated that the pro-apoptotic protein Bax can be presented by this pathway in cancer cells (7).
Another interest of the group is the definition of immune signatures based on immune cell phenotype and function, as prognostic markers.
We have recently shown that abnormal expansion of CD8 T subsets in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) results in an inverted CD4:CD8 ratio, and correlates with poorer clinical prognosis (8).
We will be investigating the antigen specificity and function of these CD8 T cells, in particular examining the influence of persistent viruses such as HCMV.
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