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Medicine: Harnessing the Power of the T-Cell Army

Sunday School

Sunday, November 17, 2013 from 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM (GMT)

Medicine: Harnessing the Power of the T-Cell Army

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Medicine: Harnessing the power of the T-Cell Army Ended Free  

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Event Details

At the beginning of the 20th century a young American surgeon named William Coley sought funding to carry out research into how the immune system could be used to treat cancer. Unfortunately for Coley, the medical profession did not embrace his ideas and for the next hundred years progress in the treatment of cancer would come mostly from radiation and chemotherapy. However, towards the end of the century, the approach of harnessing the immune system – by manipulating T-cells - to fight against cancer and diseases such HIV began to take hold.

Cardiff University’s Professor Andy Sewell describes T-Cells – white blood cells that patrol our bodies scanning for, and destroying, foreign microbes – as both generals and assassins. They control immunity to infection, are critical for vaccination, and can naturally eradicate cancer. They’re also responsible for the rejection of transplanted organs, can result in deadly allergic reactions, and cause autoimmunity, something that costs the NHS a sizable fraction of its budget.

In this talk, Andy Sewell will focus on the immune system with special emphasis on T-cells. He will describe how new knowledge  – discovered by his pioneering team based in Cardiff University - allows us to beneficially manipulate the immune system and reveals how autoimmune disease can be caused. This information has resulted in exciting advances against cancer and is providing new concepts for treatment of infectious diseases. Andy will also look at what might be possible in the near future through the harnessing the power of immune T-Cells.

Andy Sewell Biog

Andy Sewell grew up on a farm in Leicestershire, trained at the University of Liverpool (he’s a lifelong supporter of the city’s red team) and undertook postdoctoral studies at the University of Utah (he likes to ski) before returning to the University of Oxford in 1995 where he attained a Senior Fellowship from the Wellcome Trust to study immune cells called T-cells. He relocated to Cardiff as Distinguished Professor of Immunology in 2006. He is currently Research Director of Cardiff Institute of Infection and Immunity, a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator and a founder member of the new NISCHR Senior Faculty in Wales.

His research interests still focus on T-cells. These immune cells sit at the hub of immunity to infection, immunity to cancer/cancer immunotherapy, autoimmune disease and the rejection of transplanted organs. This has allowed the accumulation of a wide portfolio of research funding that currently totals over £6 million and includes support from the BBSRC, Wellcome Trust, JDRF, Cancer Research Wales, Breast Cancer Campaign and the Welsh Assembly Government (NISCHR).

He lives in Cardiff with his soul mate of 23 years, Emma. Much to Andy’s despair, their current location, Emma’s Welsh roots and recent team form have combined to ensure that there 3 son’s Max, Alfie and Ollie aged 12, 10 and 8 all support the men in red when they play the men in white with the oval ball.

Have questions about Medicine: Harnessing the Power of the T-Cell Army? Contact Sunday School

When & Where

Pierhead, Roald Dahl Plas, Cardiff Bay

Sunday, November 17, 2013 from 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM (GMT)

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Sunday School

Sunday School is a new event for Wales, which provides a place where people can hear from a range of inspiring speakers on a variety of subjects pertinent to Wales and the wider communities. Taking place fortnightly in the Pierhead Building in Cardiff Bay, our programme of free secular talks is open to curious minds everywhere.

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