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Immune modulation; the new modality for cancer treatment.


Thalidomide's effect on autoimmune disease and chronic infections was initially thought to be due to TNFa inhibition. It is now evident that it's activities are much broader than this and together with the many analogues made from its backbone , they are collectively called IMiDs as the major activity is immune modulation. The First of these analogues is now known as Revlimid or Lenalidomide and is licensed worldwide for the treatment of myeloma and lymphoma. A heat killed mycobacterium, originally developed as a TB vaccine has been shown to have marked immune modulators properties and has recently been shown to give a highly significant survival in advancer pancreatic cancer when given with chemo as opposed to chemo alone. ( Presented at ASCO GI Jan 2015 ). It is now clear that a number of drugs given at low doses can also act as immune modulators and boost the effects of immunisation. These will be discussed with examples.


Professor Angus Dalgleish studied medicine at University College London where he obtained an MBBS and a BSc in Anatomy. He is a Fellow of The Royal College of Physicians of the UK and Australia, Royal College of Pathologists and The Academy of Medical Scientists. He also trained in Internal Medicine and Oncology in Brisbane and Sydney. Following an interest in how viruses caused cancer, he undertook a PhD with Professor Robin Weiss, a FRS at the Institute of Cancer Research and Royal Marsden Hospital before becoming a senior clinical scientist at the MRC Clinical Research Center in Northwick Park. He was appointed to Foundation Chair of Oncology at St. George’s University of London in 1991. His main interests there have been the immunology of cancer and the development of immunotherapies to treat, in particular, melanoma. In 1997, he founded Onyvax Ltd., a privately funded biotechnology company developing cancer vaccines and currently holds a position as Research Director.

Professor Dalgleish currently sits on 8 editorial boards; he has published over 300 peer-reviewed papers and authored or co-authored over 70 chapters in medical books. He is the co-editor of 5 medical books. He has been on numerous grant committees and is currently on the European Commission Cancer Board. 

Professor Dalgleish’s career to date includes several key oncological discoveries that stemmed from an original interest in the pathogenesis of cancer. Some of these discoveries include: confirmed of the link between Hepatitis B (“HBV”) and liver cancer in native Australians, showing through the use of newly available sensitive assays that most instances were not due to alcohol as claimed before; co-discovered the CD4 receptor for ; published the first paper linking Slim Disease in East Africa with ; developed the theory of pathogenesis that  only causes AIDS by immune activation and not by cytopathic killing; and investigated anti-idiotype and allogeneic based vaccines for  and then applied the theory to cancer; pioneered melanoma vaccines in the U.K. (Megavax and CancerVax) and adapted this approach to prostate cancer. In Phase II active agent is 42% with near doubling of time to progression to disease, compared with matched cancers and the therapies (Journal Clinical Oncology 2005) and showed that even small volume colon cancer causes cell mediated immunosuppression, which is reverted following surgery and developed cancer arises due to chronic inflammation theory, thereby causing immunosuppression and angiogenesis and the ideal environment for stochastic changes to survival. Professor  Dalgleish currently has an active interest in group optimizing dendritic cell treatment for cancer, both basic research and clinical groups and the identification of novel anti-inflammatory agent in vaccinated goat serum therapy is patent pending.