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Professor Gus Dalgleish

Professor of Oncology

Professor Dalgleish was appointed as foundation chair of oncology at St George’s, University of London in 1991. He graduated MBBS at University College, London, in 1974, having done an intercalated BSc in anatomy with Professor J Z Young, FRS. After training as a general physician and specialist medical oncologist he joined Professor Robin Weiss, then head of the Institute of Cancer Research as a clinical research fellow in 1984. His project was on human retroviruses and he was a co-discoverer of the fact that HIV used CD4 as a receptor and senior author of the paper that first linked HIV infection to slim disease in East Africa.

In 1987 he became a Medical Research Council clinical research fellow at the Northwick Park Clinical Research Centre. Here he continued his work on HIV pathogenesis and became part of an EU group focused on the correlates of immune protection. During this time, the association with the induction of immune activation and disease was shown to be absolute, correlating with the observations in chimpanzees. 

Professor Dalgliesh was awarded the Joshua Lederberg Prize in 2012.

Professor Dalgleish is a Professor of Oncology.  His work on human retroviruses led to him being a co-discoverer of the fact that HIV used CD4 as a receptor, and senior author of the paper that first linked HIV infection to slim disease in East Africa.

With regard to cancer, Professor Dalgleish has applied the principle of his work in HIV to the immune response to cancer and been involved with many vaccine programmes, mainly against melanoma. Patients on mycobacterium vaccae studies have done far better than expected. Based on these observations, Immodulon has resurrected this vaccine, which is the main vaccine candidate of interest to Professor Dalgliesh's research group.

Nearly all of the group's work on immune response to cancer and the development of vaccines has been funded by the Cancer Vaccine Institute, originally set by families of patients who felt they had benefitted enormously from earlier trials.

The other major line of Professor Dalgliesh's research has been the resurrection of Thalidomide and the development of the analogue programme with Celgene. The first of these, which the group published a phase I/II study on and were surprised to see the strong immune modulatory effect of, was Revlimid. It has subsequently been confirmed, and this agent is now in trial, as an oral adjuvant for vaccines. The drug itself has been outstandingly successful in the clinic for multiple myeloma, while Professor Dalgliesh was awarded the Joshua Lederberg Prize in 2012.

There are many other analogues with good clinical potential, and one of these, Pomalidomide, has also recently been approved. Both agents have marked activity in leukaemias and lymphomas.

His research is focused on three main areas:

  1. Development of a therapeutic HIV vaccine, which is now in trial with Bionor Pharma in Norway.  There are two specific strains to this - firstly the C5 gp41 immunogen and, secondly, the VAX 4X combined with Revlimid.

  2. Development of cancer vaccines immunotherapy.  This has involved the resurrection of the Mycobacterium agents, with a focus on obuense, being produced by Immodulon.  There are three clinical trials running at present, one in melanoma, a second on a randomised study for pancreatic cancer, and the third on colorectal metastases.  The study with UCL in early prostate cancer is being planned.

  3. The development of the IMiDs, as well as combinations with other agents and their use as adjuvants for vaccines.

  1. Role of HER family members and IGF-IR in the progression of pancreatic cancer and response to therapeutic interventions – co-applicant
    Medical Research Council

  2. Development of cytotopic immunomodulatory agents for targeted localised cancer therapy – Joint lead applicant     
    Cancer Research UK

  3. Active surveillance for prostate cancer: embedding a random invitation programme to evaluate novel agents in men following an observational strategy for early prostate cancer
    British Research Council
    Not funded

  4. ‘Vacc-HIV: A novel therapeutic vaccine combination for HIV infection’ co-applicant
    Medical Research Council
    Over three years, awarded June 2013

  5. Development of a novel cytotopic immunotherapeutic cocktail for targeted treatment of advanced prostate cancer – co-applicant
    Prostate Cancer UK   
    Awarded Oct 2012

  6. Role of Canniboids in Glioma
    GW Pharma
    Awarded Sept 2012 - one year

  7. PhD Studentship - An investigation of the effects of novel combinational therapies on restoration of gemcitabine sensistivity and anti-tumour immune functions in pancreatic cancer
    Ralph Bates Pancreatic Research Fund
    Awarded October 2010 - 2013
    £77,558 over three years

  8. Combination Therapies of IMiDs in cancer/Exploration of  the correct epitopes for a potential HIV vaccine which might prevent disease progression
    Celgene Global
    Awarded 2009 - ongoing
    £100,000 per year  

  9. Cancer immunotherapy research
    Cancer Vaccine Institute
    Awarded 2004 – ongoing
    Average £310,000 per year

Research group

  • Andrew Gravett PhD - The immunological alteration of cancer cells upon chemotherapeutic treatment

  • Elwira Kominska PhD - Immunomodulatory role of Apolipoprotein E on monocytes and monocyte-derived dendritic cells

  • Alan Levatt PhD - An investigation of the effects of novel combinatorial therapies on restoration of gemcitabine sensitivity and anti-tumour immune functions in pancreatic cancer

  • Rachel Cant PhD - Effects of Low dose Naltrexone on Immune cell function

  • Emma Sparrow PhD - Does the release of cytolytic granules from gamma-delta T cells contribute to the maturation and migration of dendritic cells?

  • Dr Wai Liu - Research fellow

  • Nneka Belonwu

  • Mark Bodman-Smith

  • John Copier

  • Mary Dunn

  • Dan Fowler

  • Kathy Scott

  • Peter L Smith





Professor Dalgleish teaches Biomedical Science special study projects, the Medicine MBBS (graduate entry) course, personal and professional development.


Professor Dalgleish supervises PhD students.

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