Gareth Thomas BDS, MScD, PhD, FDSRCS, FRCPath

University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.

Professor Gareth Thomas is Chair of Experimental Pathology at the University of Southampton. His laboratory focuses on the role of the tumour microenvironment in promoting tumour progression, investigating the interactions between different cell types. The work has a strong translational component, identifying potential prognostic/predictive biomarkers, therapeutic targets and molecular classifiers in cancer tissues, including the characterisation of cancer-associated fibroblasts and intratumoral immune cells, and development of immunotherapy clinical trials in squamous carcinoma of the head and neck.

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Targeted therapies: aiming at the tumour micro-environment

While immune checkpoint inhibitors such as -PD1, have shown efficacy across cancer types, most patients (~80%) fail to respond. Currently, it is unclear how to select patients most likely to benefit, or how to combine the expanding number of immunotherapies in development.

Our aim is to develop immune stratification for cancer patients; using NGS, bioinformatic analyses and in vivo modelling, we have characterised the molecular heterogeneity of tumour phenotypes; characterising prognostic/predictive lymphocyte signatures and identifying targetable immune evasion mechanisms. The seminar will discuss the potential for immune-based classification of cancers.