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Beginner’s Guide to Cancer Immunotherapy – October 2024

Beginner's Guide to Cancer Immunotherapy

Start date: Tuesday 22nd October 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

£75.00 Places remaining: 37
Introduction to precision medicine for cancer

This course will introduce the science behind many forms of immunotherapy, including immune checkpoint inhibitors, treatment vaccines, and CAR T cells.


An introduction to immunotherapy: what it is, how it works, and who it’s given to.

During this half day course Dr Elaine Vickers – a leading independent educator on the science of new cancer treatments – will introduce the science behind modern cancer immunotherapies for solid tumours and haematological cancers.

The course begins with an introduction to the relationship between cancer and the immune system. This relationship evolves with time, and Elaine will describe how cancer cells evade and suppress white blood cells to stay alive.

She then explains how immune checkpoint inhibitors such as nivolumab and pembrolizumab hope to boost the cancer-fighting response from the person’s immune system. To do this, she’ll discuss some of the critical features of T lymphocytes and why they’re the focus of these treatments.

Finally, in the third session of the morning, Elaine will describe many other forms of immunotherapy given to cancer patients. These include treatment vaccines, oncolytic viruses, double-ended proteins called T cell engagers, TIL (tumour-infiltrating lymphocyte) therapy, and CAR T cells. She’ll explain briefly how they work and why they’re valuable treatments for some patients and not others.


This content is ideal for research nurses, clinical nurse specialists, pharmacists, and clinical trials coordinators. It may also interest other healthcare professionals wanting to improve their understanding of immunotherapy.

This course is ideal for anyone new to cancer immunotherapy and would like to understand how these treatments came about and how they work.

As ever, Elaine will use colourful illustrations and jargon-free explanations to help learners gain a broad understanding of the concepts covered.

Course delivery

The course comprises a single morning comprising three sessions, delivered online via Microsoft Teams, focusing on the following:

  • Session one: An introduction to cancer and the immune system
  • Session two: Immune checkpoint inhibitors
  • Session three: Other forms of immunotherapy

Detailed Programme

9:30am Session 1 – Cancer’s relationship with the immune system

•         A brief introduction to the human immune system

•         How our cells talk to our immune system

•         Our immune system’s role in protecting us from cancer

•         How cancer’s relationship with the immune system changes over time

•         The difference between “cancer friends” and “cancer foes”

10:30am Session 2 – Immunotherapy with checkpoint inhibitors

•         An introduction to T lymphocytes (T cells)

•         What T cells do and why our body needs to control them

•         How T cells kill cancer cells and what sometimes stops them

•         The mechanism of action of immune checkpoint inhibitors such as pembrolizumab, nivolumab, and ipilimumab

11:30am Session 3 – Other forms of immunotherapy

•         An overview of different immunotherapy strategies, such as:

•         Antibody-based immunotherapies given to people with haematological cancer

•         T cell engagers: double-ended proteins that connect cancer cells and T cells

•         Vaccine-based treatments that alert the body to the presence of cancer cells

•         Using living T cells to treat cancer

12.30pm – close

Course lead

Dr Elaine Vickers PhD of Science Communicated Ltd
Dr Elaine Vickers PhD of Science Communicated Ltd

Dr Elaine Vickers, PhD of Science Communicated Ltd has worked as a cancer educator for over twenty years and has previously acted as science communicator for three of the UK’s leading medical research charities, including four years in the Science Information team at Cancer Research UK.

Elaine is passionate about demystifying the science behind cancer biology and the latest cancer treatments such as kinase inhibitors, monoclonal antibodies and immunotherapies.

She is experienced in teaching people with any level of scientific or medical knowledge from cancer patients through to medical oncologists translating complex and often overwhelming topics into easily digestible and understandable knowledge, using colourful illustrations to explain scientific concepts.

The second edition of her book, A Beginner’s Guide to Targeted Cancer Treatments – commended by the British Medical Association book awards is due out by the end of 2024.


To book a place on this course go to Tickets at the bottom of the page.

At checkout you can make an online card payment or enter a coupon code to make alternative payment arrangements.

Alternative payment arrangements include:

  • requesting an invoice (INVOICE),
  • The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust staff internal funding (NUTH) – you will need to complete a Trust study leave form.

Please see the Making payments & Coupons sections of the Help and FAQs.


Newcastle Clinical Skills Academy
0191 28 24710
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Event Tickets

Beginner's Guide to Cancer Immunotherapy
This course is virtual on 22 October 2024 from 9:30am - 12:30pm.
£ 75.00
37 available

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