Immunotherapy aims to boost the immune system against cancer.
However while some people benefit immensely, many patients don’t
benefit at all.
Dr Lesterhuis’ research aims to identify the molecular mechanisms
underlying the response to antibodies that block inhibitory receptors on
immune cells, so called ‘checkpoint blockers’, and to use this information
to design new treatment combinations. His team have subsequently tested
these newly identified drug combinations, and are currently in early-phase
clinical trials in people with mesothelioma.
Willem’s public outreach has included lectures and workshops with school
students, presenting his research for people who have been exposed
to asbestos and patients with mesothelioma, and the development of
an animated movie for YouTube. Dr Lesterhuis received his PhD from
Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands in 2010, and is currently
a Senior Lecturer at the University of Western Australia and the Sarcoma
Group Head at the Telethon Kids Institute.