Dr Orazio Vittorio

UNSW Sydney
Research Field: Cancer Immunology, Neuroblastoma

Neuroblastoma is one of the deadliest childhood cancers, with poor survival rates despite intensive therapy. Immunotherapy – a treatment that works through the stimulation of a patient’s immune system – has offered real hope for some tumours. However, neuroblastoma can shield itself from current immunotherapies.

Dr Vittorio aims to understand what makes neuroblastoma so aggressive and resistant to immunotherapies. He discovered that neuroblastoma is dependent on copper for growth and uses it to hide from and escape immune system attack. As an exciting advancement of his research, Dr Vittorio is studying drugs which remove excess copper from the body, enabling a boost in the immune response to neuroblastoma.

Orazio’s passionate science communication spans radio, newspapers and television interviews. He has been given regular public lectures and school presentation about the importance of cancer research. He organised a series of Zoom talks for primary school students to improve awareness of STEM subjects.

Orazio received his PhD from the University of Pisa in 2011 and he is currently a NHMRC Fellow and Senior Lecturer at the University of New South Wales and Team Leader at the Children’s Cancer Institute.