15 March 2017
Dr Robert Weinkove has been the first of our scientists to join the radio show Street Science on the subject of immunotherapy and our vaccine therapy projects here at the Institute.
Rob is a member of our Vaccine Therapy group, investigating the potential for vaccines as a treatment for cancer and infectious diseases. These vaccines differ from the preventative vaccines we are most familiar with; for measles, mumps and other communicable illnesses. The research group is focussed on finding ways to induce strong immune responses by ‘programming’ the formation of large populations of T cells to fight disease. The new immunotherapy cancer drugs (Opdivo and Keytruda), which were approved for use in New Zealand in 2016, work using a different mechanism – they prevent cancer cells from turning any anti-cancer T cells off. Both approaches promise gentler, more effective treatments, although more research is needed to make them better.
Launched late last year, Street Science airs every Wednesday at 6pm on Planet FM 104.6. Led by Plant and Food Research scientists Dr Charles Ampomah-Dwamena, Dr Andrew Dare and Blue Plunkett, the show features science topics and their relevance to everyday life.