Dr Lisa Mielke announced among Victoria's most outstanding mid-career cancer researchers.

The Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute is thrilled to announce that Dr. Lisa Mielke has been honoured with the prestigious 2023-2024 Monash Partners Comprehensive Cancer Consortium (MPCCC) Mid-Career Award for Outstanding Cancer Research. This accolade is a testament to Dr. Mielke’s outstanding contributions to cancer research, particularly her work in cancer immunology, which focuses on enhancing the anti-tumour response of a relatively understudied immune cell type in the fight against bowel cancer.

Dr. Mielke leads the Mucosal Immunity and Cancer Laboratory at ONJCRI, where her research delves into the intricate relationship between immune cells and cancer, with a particular focus on bowel cancer. Her work has unveiled the critical role of gamma delta (γδ) T cells in preventing the development and progression of cancer within the large bowel. Dr. Mielke and her team discovered that a molecule called TCF-1, suppresses the natural activity of γδ T cells, which are crucial for combating bowel cancer. In pre-clinical studies they could show that when TCF-1 was deleted in these immune cells, the anti-tumour immunity significantly increased, resulting in a reduction in tumour burden.

This insight may open new avenues for improving immunotherapy treatments for bowel cancer, by targeting TCF-1, thereby enhancing the anti-tumour response. The significance of Dr. Mielke’s research extends beyond the scientific community.

By focusing on anticancer therapies that aim to minimise treatment toxicity, her work aligns with ONJCRI’s mission to improve quality of life for cancer patients. Her achievements exemplify the institute’s commitment to pioneering research that offers hope for more effective cancer treatments. Chief Executive Officer of ONJCRI, Professor Marco Herold, stated “there is no doubt, Lisa is destined to be a world leader in the field of cancer immunology.  Her collaborative approach to research, enthusiasm, and talent to teach the next generation of scientists will lead to many exciting discoveries benefitting cancer patients. We are immensely proud of Lisa, and we look forward to seeing the impact of her work in the future.”

By supporting research like Dr. Mielke’s, we can all contribute to the fight against cancer, entering a new era of more effective and compassionate care.