Rosie Lew Centre for Cancer Immunotherapy

Peter Mac’s Cancer Immunology Program has an international reputation for its ground-breaking work

For more than 20 years the Program has carried out fundamental research on the immune response to cancer, and how to harness the immune system to devise new cancer therapies. Major discoveries have included providing strong evidence in support of Burnet’s theory of ‘cancer immune surveillance’, both in mice and humans. Commencing in 1995, the Program also pioneered fundamental research into CAR-T cell therapeutics and the resulting patented technology led to the first ever clinical trial Australian trial of CAR-T cells (carried out entirely at Peter Mac, 2007-2010), funded by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, USA. The technology is currently licenced by Bristol Myer Squibb. In 2018, Peter Mac formalised its translational and clinical capabilities in cancer immunotherapy through the establishment of the Rosie Lew Centre for Cancer Immunotherapy, named in honour of benefactor Mrs Rosie Lew. 

The Centre’s establishment coincided with that of a broader collaborative effort in cancer immunotherapy embodied in the VCCC Centre for Cancer Immunotherapy with generous support from the Victorian State Government, The University of Melbourne and Peter Mac.   

The VCCC Centre opened in 2018 under Director Professor Joe Trapani, who also heads the Rosie Lew Centre.  

As a result, dedicated space on Level 13 of the VCCC building now houses labs from Peter Mac and multiple VCCC Alliance members who all work in close collaboration with one another.

VCCC Alliance: 

  • Dr Andreas Behren (The Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre) 

  • Professor Paul Ekert (Co-appointment with Peter Mac, Children’s Cancer Institute Sydney, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and Royal Children’s Hospital)

Peter Mac Labs: 

  • Professor Joe Trapani 

Together, Peter Mac and the VCCC partners have collaborated with great enthusiasm to establish new translational cancer immunotherapy projects in a number of new cancer settings.   

These projects have been prioritised because of they address an enormous unmet clinical need and the perceived potential for immunotherapy to make a major difference in disease outcomes.  

The projects include a number of childhood cancers that have a poor outcome (particularly acute myeloid leukaemia, sarcoma and neuroblastoma), cancer of the head and neck, advanced melanoma, prostate cancer and lung cancer.

Pages related to the Rosie Lew Centre for Cancer Immunotherapy