Events calendar

Converging on cancer seminar series – engineering, physical sciences and multidisciplinary approaches to advance cancer research (Melcher and Ono)

18 Nov 2021, 15:00 PM

Please join us for a live webinar on the 18th November 15.00–16.00 at which Professor Axel Behrens (Cancer Research UK Convergence Science Centre Scientific Director) is pleased to host Prof Alan Melcher and Dr Masahiro Ono.

In this series of webinars brought to you by the Cancer Research UK Convergence Science Centre at Imperial College London and The Institute of Cancer Research, London, researchers across the two organisations will discuss key challenges facing cancer research and opportunities for new convergence science approaches to address these. Join us to consider how novel approaches and technologies could shed light on unresolved problems in cancer biology, to innovate new ways to address challenges in cancer and bring pioneering treatments to cancer patients faster.

Professor Alan Melcher – The Institute of Cancer Research and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, and Dr Masahiro Ono – Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London.


Oncolytic Herpes Virus and Braf Inhibitor Immunotherapy for Melanoma:

Understanding the Role and Application of T Cell Signalling Dynamics’


Although cancer immunotherapy is proving effective in the clinic, the number of drugs and pathways that are successfully targeted is limited.  This is significantly due to a lack of basic understanding of the immune biology that underlies successful immunotherapy.  The Melcher/Harrington lab has shown that combining oncolytic virotherapy (herpes simplex virus, HSV) with targeted small molecules (BRAF inhibition, BRAFi) is an effective immunotherapy, whilst the Ono lab has developed Tocky (Timer of Cell Kinetics and Activity) as a novel tool to analyse dynamics of T cell signalling at the single-cell level.  Here we present a joint project which illustrates how Tocky can be used to study the dynamics of T cell antigen signalling in the context of HSV/BRAFi treatment.  Dual combination was immunogenic, but Tocky analysis additionally revealed that a particular subset of TCR-signalling CD4+ cells was associated with reduction in tumour growth.  This led to the informed selection of CD25 high Treg, as a cell population target for depletion to successfully improve therapy.  Hence, single-cell analysis of T cell signalling dynamics can provide important information about the cells responsible for successful cancer immunotherapy and inform the choice of additional drugs to improve treatment.


About the speakers:


Professor Alan Melcher 

Professor Melcher is currently Professor of Translational Immunotherapy at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and Honorary Consultant Oncologist at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. Professor Melcher combines a clinical practice in melanoma and head and neck cancer, with laboratory and translational research focused on oncolytic viruses, radiotherapy and immunotherapy for the treatment of cancer. He and his team are investigating how to improve the ability of oncolytic viruses to trigger immunogenic cell death in tumours. They are also working on how radiotherapy treatment of tumours impacts on the immune system and anti-tumour immunity, in patients as well as pre-clinical model systems. These studies are designed to help us develop a more scientifically-informed, rational approach to combination immunotherapy strategies for testing in patients. 


Dr Masahiro Ono

Dr Masahiro Ono is a Reader in Immunology in the Department of Life Sciences, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Imperial College London. Dr Ono is an immunologist and expert in T-cell regulation. His research focuses on mechanisms of T cell activation and regulation in autoimmunity, infections, and cancer. He is the pioneer of the Timer-of-Cell-Kinetics-and-Activity (Tocky, とき), which analyses temporal changes of T-cell activities in vivo using Fluorescent Timer protein.



To receive information about how to access this event please email


Please note: This webinar is exclusively available only to colleagues across the Institute of Cancer Research, Imperial College London, the Royal Marsden Hospital and Imperial College Healthcare.