Minimising rheumatic adverse events of checkpoint inhibitor cancer therapy

Minimising rheumatic adverse events of checkpoint inhibitor cancer therapy

Project details

Autoimmune diseases occur when the body’s immune system is chronically overactive and attacks healthy cells. We are researching the immunological basis of autoimmune disorders and extend such knowledge towards novel therapeutic applications.

Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have revolutionised cancer therapy by boosting patient’s own immune responses against tumours. However, many cancer patients can develop treatment-related autoimmune side-effects, including inflammatory arthritis.

The aim of this project is to identify new anti-rheumatic strategies that can mitigate ICI-induced autoimmune adverse events without compromising the anti-tumour effects of ICIs. Student will perform proof-of-principle (genetic and pharmacologic) experiments using a preclinical model of ICI-induced arthritis.

About our research group

We have longstanding interests in the immunological basis (cellular and cytokine pathways) of autoimmune disorders and apply such knowledge towards novel therapeutic applications. While we research several distinct autoimmune diseases, we are currently researching arthritis (rheumatoid arthritis and spondyloarthritis), lupus, and multiple sclerosis. Using preclinical disease models, clinical samples, ‘omics’ technologies (genomics and proteomics) and proof-of-concept studies, we aim to gain a better understanding of the molecular events that drive disease progression and tissue pathology. Ultimately, we hope to unveil critical information that will enable the development of new diagnostic tools and therapies towards personalised medicine.

We believe this information will be also relevant to many other inflammatory diseases, including atherosclerosis, chronic infection and cancer. Some of these works have resulted in collaborations with the biotechnology sector and led to the development of antibody-based and small molecule inhibitor therapies.


Email supervisors



Dr Cynthia Louis profile
Inflammation division

Professor Ian Wicks

Ian Wicks
Joint Division Head, Laboratory Head

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