Generous donations accelerate new cancer treatment

More than $50,000 has been raised by 293 donors for our Immune Therapy Research Appeal.

These funds will support our researchers to continue their ground-breaking work on immune therapy, a new way of treating cancer that uses a patient’s own immune system to attack their tumour.

Director of Alumni Relations and Development Mark Bentley says he is extremely grateful to everyone who has contributed to this appeal in the last few weeks, despite COVID-19 disrupting the lives of people worldwide.

“Thank you to everyone who has responded to the Immune Therapy Research Appeal. We’ve been blown away by people’s generosity, especially during these difficult times and we can’t thank you enough.”

Immune therapy treats cancer by harnessing the power of T cells, which are white blood cells capable of recognising and destroying invading cancer cells, while leaving normal cells unharmed.

Using revolutionary techniques, our team, led by international immune therapy pioneer Professor Rod Dunbar, has uncovered a rapid way to identify which T cells in a patient’s blood can best attack their cancer.

The team then grows a large army of these rare T cells in the lab and arms them so that they can be highly effective cancer fighters back in the body.

To do this effectively, the team needs specialised facilities, where cells can be grown before being given back to patients. With no such facilities in Auckland, the University has to build its own.

The funds donated to the Immune Therapy Appeal will contribute towards these vital facilities, which will have cell isolator technology that keeps cells safe within a controlled environment optimised for their growth.

Once clinical trials are complete, this can be replicated to provide therapy for more and more patients, at a fraction of the cost. With generous support of our donors, we are able to tackle big issues, like how to treat cancer more effectively.