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University of Oxford

Name of the laboratory

LRF Haemato-oncology Group
Nuffield Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences, University of Oxford
Level 4 Academic Block
University of Oxford
Headington, Oxford, OX3 9DU, United Kingdom
+44 1865 220246

Laboratory activity

Prof Alison Banham’s Haemato-oncology group are focussed on identifying and understanding molecular pathways that are fundamentally required for the pathogenesis of human malignancies (particularly B-cell lymphomas). The aim is to then translate this knowledge into the development of novel cancer biomarkers and therapies. The group are particularly experienced in monoclonal antibody production and characterisation and are actively involved in the European Monoclonal Antibodies Network. Together with its extensive network of collaborators the laboratory uses a multidisciplinary experimental approach exploiting a wide range of biochemical, structural, immunological, pathological, cell biology, molecular, and bioinformatics techniques to pursue its research goals.

Research activities

1) Therapeutic Antibody Programme

Monoclonal antibodies represent some of the most effective new drugs being used to treat cancer. We have produced novel antibodies targeting the tumour vasculature that recognise both known (the Notch ligand Jagged-1) and novel proteins with a role in angiogenesis, with the aim of generating new drugs that disrupt the tumour blood supply. We have also generated TCR mimic antibodies to wild type p53 peptides in the context of HLA-A2. These extend the scope of classical therapeutic antibody targets to include intracellular tumour proteins via the specific recognition of tumour-derived peptides presented on the tumour cell surface by MHC class I molecules.

2) Transcriptional deregulation in cancer

The altered patterns of gene expression arising from inappropriate regulation and/or function of key transcription factors cause many human diseases, including cancer. We previously discovered the human FOXP1 forkhead transcription factor and it’s roles in the pathogenesis of both lymphomas and carcinomas, while we identified overexpression of the related FOXP2 protein in the incurable malignancy multiple myeloma. In collaboration with Dr Giovanna Roncador, we were the first to make monoclonal antibodies to the regulatory T-cell marker FOXP3, and have demonstrated across a number of tumour types that these reagents can be used to quantify the numbers of these cells in patients’ biopsies and predict clinical outcomes such as survival or late relapse. Further studies of the FOXP family, NFIL3 (a transcription factor essential for the NK lineage) and the PASD1 cancer testis antigen are being pursued by studying their expression, regulation, involvement in pathways that affect cellular survival and proliferation, combined with the identification and characterisation of their co-factors and target genes. Future work will include hit identification and drug discovery studies to identify FOXP inhibitors.

Techniques available

  • monoclonal antibody production in mice
  • gene cloning and preparation of transfection constructs
  • recombinant protein expression in bacteria and mammalian cells
  • antibody characterisation
  • RNAi to confirm antibody specificity
  • single, double and triple immunostaining techniques
  • bacterial expression cloning of antigens recognised by antibodies
  • immunological techniques eg. immunoprecipitation and western blotting
  • Chromatin immunoprecipitation
  • Characterisation of humoral immune responses to tumour proteins
  • Antibody purification
  • Antibody gene cloning, recombinant antibody expression, isotype switching and production of chimeric antibodies
  • Production and characterisation of TCR mimic antibodies
  • Testing candidate therapeutic antibodies in pre-clinical xenograft models
  • CRISPR/Cas9 genome engineering

Publications (2017-present)

  • Boullosa LF, Bonney S, Savaliya P, Orchard L, Wickenden H, Lee C, Smits E, Banham AH, Mills K, Orchard K, Guinn B-A. Identification of survivin as the most promising leukaemia associated antigen for the immunotherapy of adult B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Oncotarget 2017 Dec 17;9(3):3853-3866. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.23380. eCollection 2018 Jan 9.
  • Ait-Tahar K, Anderson AP, Barnardo M, Collins GP, Hatton C, Banham AH, Pulford K. Sp17 protein expression and major histocompatibility class I and II epitope presentation in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma patients. Advances in Hematology 2017;2017:6527306. doi: 10.1155/2017/6527306.
  • Loo SK, Ch’ng ES, Lawrie CH, Arestin Muruzabal M, Gaafar A, Puente Pomposo M, Husin A, Salleh S, Banham AH, Pedersen LM, Møller MB, Green TM, Wong KK. DNMT1 is predictive of survival and associated with Ki-67 expression in R-CHOP-treated diffuse large B-cell lymphomas. Pathology 2017 49(7):731-739. doi: 10.1016/j.pathol.2017.08.009.
  • Trenevska I, Li D, Banham AH. Therapeutic antibodies against intracellular tumor antigens. Frontiers in Immunology 2017 Aug;8: article 1001. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2017.01001
  • Li D, Bentley C, Yates J, Salimi M, Greig J, Wiblin S, Hassanali T, Banham AH. Engineering chimeric human and mouse major histocompatibility (MHC) class I tetramers for the production of T-cell receptor (TCR) mimic antibodies. PLOS One 2017 12(4):e0176642.
  • Li D, Bentley C, Anderson A, Wiblin S, Cleary KLS, Koustoulidou S, Hassanali T, Yates J, Greig J, Olde Nordkamp M, Trenevska I, Ternette N, Kessler BM, Cornelissen B, Cragg MS, Banham AH. Development of a T-cell receptor mimic antibody against wild type p53 for cancer immunotherapy. Cancer Research 2017;77(10):2699-711.
  • Loo SK, Ch’ng ES, Salleh S, Banham AH, Pedersen LM, Møller MB, Green TM, Wong KK. TRPM4 expression is associated with activated B-cell subtype and poor survival in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Histopathology. 2017 Mar 1. doi: 10.1111/his.13204. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Gascoyne DM, Lyne L, Spearman H, Buffa F, Soilleux EJ, Banham AH. Vitamin D receptor expression in plasmablastic lymphoma and myeloma cells confer susceptibility to vitamin D. Endocrinology. 2017 Mar;158(3):503-515.