Kef Prasit received his bachelor’s degree from the University of British Colombia, undergoing further training at the Harvard Medical School’s Department of Pathology.
Kef is currently a PhD student in the Malaghan Institute’s Cancer Immunotherapy Programme led by Professor Ian Hermans, looking at the intratumoural combination of pattern recognition receptor and iNKT cell agonists. His work is sponsored by Victoria University and the Maurice Wilkins Centre.
My research interests involve harnessing the innate and adaptive immune systems to eradicate cancers and provide a durable systemic immune response.
The overall goal of our research is to create novel immunotherapeutic strategies against cancer including vaccination. By harnessing the immune system to treat cancer, we hope to cure more patients without the significant side-effects associated with chemotherapy and radiation.
My project looks at vaccination strategies both in situ and adjuvant/peptide based. By delivering our therapeutic agents locally, we stimulate innate and adaptive immune cell populations to induce local tumour cell killing which in turn can lead to systemic adaptive immune response that both eradicates the cancer and generates long term memory against it.
The project looks at the intratumoural combination of damage and pathogen associated molecular patterns with a-galactosylceramide a potent iNKT cell agonist isolated from marine sponges. By introducing these agents locally into the tumour, we hope to turn the tumour’s microenvironment from “cold” and immunosuppressive into a “hot” one; whereby we overcome the tumour’s immunosuppressive microenvironment, allowing immune cells to more efficiently/easily infiltrate and eradicate the tumour.