Dr Camille Guillerey

Immune cells to fight blood cancers

Camille is a researcher at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Brisbane. She studies the blood cancers leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma.

“I’m fascinated by how our immune cells interact to protect us from infections and cancer,” she says.

Camille says that as a child she loved cartoons that pictured the immune system as characters killing microbes to keep people healthy. 

“I still have this vision of immunology!” she laughs.

It is these ‘killer’ immune cells that are the focus of her research.

The research

Camille has already contributed to research that demonstrates that ‘killer’ immune cells can slow the growth of blood cancers, and also that the functioning of these cells can be stimulated by certain immunotherapy drugs.

“In our project, we aim to identify how blood cancers affect the ‘killer cell’ responses to the drug, test approaches to restore cell functions in patients, and improve effectiveness of the drugs,” she says.

“The work should help us design better treatments”.

Blood cancers are a major health problem with around 12,000 new cases expected in Australia this year.*

A team effort

Camille believes that funding early-career researchers is crucial to finding a cure for cancer.

“Indeed it will be impossible,” she says, “if more early-career researchers aren’t able to develop as independent scientists and thereby aggregate the number of experts working in the field.

“Even if there’s a long way to go, fighting cancer is a team effort where everyone’s contribution matters.”

Camille gained her PhD in Immunology in 2013 at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, before moving to Australia to join renowned immunologist Professor Mark Smyth at his laboratory in the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute.

Camille was attracted to the quality of science and reputation of the institute. “But I was also happy to discover Australia” she says.

 

Camille is funded by Cure Cancer Australia and Cancer Australia through the Priority-driven Cancer Support Scheme. Her grant is solely supported by The Can Too Foundation.

*Based on combined figures from Cancer Australia  on the predicted incidence of Leukaemia, Lymphoma and Myeloma in 2017.

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