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Microbiology and Immunology researchers win University of Otago Proof of Concept competition

Posted by on 12 June 2017 | Comments

Associate Professor Alex McLellan and Dr Yoshio Nakatani have won the University's Proof of Concept award for commercialisation, with their strategy to make modern cancer immunotherapy safer.

Although immunotherapy is an effective emerging cancer treatment, a major limitation of its success is the sometimes lethal “cytokine storm” that occurs in some patients, due to over-stimulation of the immune system.

Associate Professor McLellan's research skills are in immunotherapy, while Dr Nakatani is an expert in solving the crystal-structure of proteins. The collaboration developed after a stairwell conversation between Drs McLellan and Nakatani.

“When we checked the structures of the drugs, we realised our engineering principles were workable and we were onto something good,” says Dr McLellan.

Read the media release on the University of Otago website 

Alexander McLellanYoshio Nakatani