The Cancer Council WA recently recognised the University of WA researcher for her work in examining how the immune system responded in patients being treated for lung cancer or mesothelioma and awarded her a $22,000 grant to fund her research project.
‘This is the first grant I have received as a chief investigator so it’s a really important and exciting point in my early research career, but basically it means that we can get this project up and running,’ Dr McDonnell said. Her research project involves comparing immune responses in a tumour to the immune responses in a patient’s blood during cancer treatment.
She explained that this may provide insight into how a patient with a particular type of tumour will respond to a particular type of treatment and why.
‘I would like to see this work allow us to have a greater understanding of the anti-cancer immune response in patients with malignant mesothelioma before, during and after treatment,’ she said.
Among other things, it will allow researchers to identify specific cell types to target with immune-based therapies either alone or in combination with chemotherapy to have a real and lasting impact on the overall survival of cancer patients.