Cancer treatment: HMR researcher makes breakthrough immunotherapy discovery

Dr Christopher E. Rudd, a researcher at the Centre de recherche de l’Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont (CR-HMR) and Université de Montréal, has discovered a new cell therapy approach that boosts the immune response of T lymphocytes to malignant tumours. The results of the study have just been published in the respected journal Nature.

“Our work has identified a new T-cell protein that interacts with the key receptor that detects and responds to cancer antigens,” says Prof. Rudd. “We have used those findings to develop a new form of immunotherapy in which hyperactivation of T cells enables them to penetrate and attack tumours. This discovery demonstrates that modulation of the identified protein can activate the immune system and lead to destruction of the cancer cells.”

Dr Christopher E. Rudd

To date, the effectiveness of the new form of immunotherapy against leukemia and some skin cancers has been demonstrated in animals. The next stage will be clinical trials with human subjects.

“This discovery is a scientific breakthrough that will have significantly enhance the immune system’s effectiveness in eliminating cancer cells,” says Dr. Denis-Claude Roy, scientific and medical director of the Center of Excellence in Cellular Therapy and CR-HMR.

Eventually, this approach could also improve the effectiveness of the new CAR‑T cell therapy currently being used at Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont.

Dr Christopher E. Rudd is a professor in the Department of Microbiology, Infection and Immunology, Université de Montréal, and Director of the Cell Signalling in Immunotherapy Unit at CR-HMR. The research was conducted in part while he was a professor at Cambridge University in England and then in his lab at CR-HMR and at Université de Montréal. Dr. Youg Raj Thaker of Cambridge University and Essex University in England, and Dr. Monika Raab and Dr. Klaus Strebhardt of the J.W. Goethe University Medical School in Frankfurt, Germany, were also involved in the research.

About Christopher E. Rudd

Dr Christopher E. Rudd, Ph.D., D.Sc., is Director of the Cell Signalling in Immunotherapy Unit and Director of Immunology-Oncology at the Centre de recherche de l’Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont. He is also a Professor in the Department of Microbiology, Infection and Immunology in the Faculty of Medicine, Université de Montréal.


Le Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux de l’Est-de-l’Île-de-Montréal (CIUSSS-EMTL) includes the Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital, Santa Cabrini Hospital, and the Marie-Curie Polish CHSLD. Sklodowska and the Montreal Mental Health University Institute, as well as Saint-Léonard and Saint-Michel Health and Social Services Centers, Pointe-de-l’Île and Lucille-Teasdale. It has nearly 15,000 employees and nearly 1,000 physicians in 43 service points for a population of 500,000 people. It offers a full range of front-line health and social services, general, specialty, subspecialized and mental health care. It also offers long-term care in accommodation. Affiliated with the University of Montreal, the CIUSSS-EMTL combines teaching, evaluation and research missions with the training of doctors and health professionals. Its two major research centers stand out nationally and internationally in areas of expertise such as mental health, immuno-oncology, vision health, nephrology and cell therapy.

With its two research centres and four areas of excellence that include mental health, immunology-oncology, vision health and nephrology, the CIUSSS-EMTL is a pole for health innovation in Canada. Its teams advance innovative ideas that raise the profile of the CIUSSS-EMTL nationally and internationally.

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