Project Lead

Dr Ryan McMahon

Dr Ryan McMahon

The aim of this PhD is to investigate predictive outcomes of combined SABR (Stereotactic body radiotherapy) and immunotherapy in the management of solid organ malignancies.
Solid-organ malignancies account for the major proportion of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Significant improvements in the management of solid organ malignancies are required. More recently, anti-PD-1/L1 (programmed death ligand-1) immunotherapy, which amplifies a patients immune response to their tumour, has shown efficacy in a wide range of tumour types. However, many patients do not experience a durable response. This may be due to a number of host or tumour related factors.
It has been well documented that Stereotactic ablative body radiotherapy (SABR) is a potent immune-stimulating event. Combining a highly potent immune stimulus such as SABR, to kickstart the immune response, in combination with anti-PD-1/L1 immunotherapy, will aim to improve immunotherapy response rates.
The scope of this project will be to utilise tissue generated from currently recruiting clinical trials at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Center to investigate potential synergistic mechanisms
of combined therapy. It is the hypothesis that a sustained anti-tumour immune response will improve both local and regional control of solid organ malignancies. As such, an in-depth investigation of biomarkers that are predictive of patient immune responses and associated outcomes is urgently required.