The CAMS-Oxford International Centre for Translational Immunology is a joint venture between the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CAMS), China Centre for Disease Control (China CDC), Beijing's You'an Hospital (You'an), the University of Oxford's Human Immunology Unit (HIU), and the Nuffield Department of Medicine (NDM).
Founded in April 2013, three main themes will underpin our human immunology research programmes:
i) analysis of the interplay between adaptive and innate immune responses to optimize vaccination strategies;
ii) the role of the local micro-environment in modulating innate and adaptive immune responses;
iii) understanding the mechanisms which control resolution of inflammatory processes during infectious diseases and cancer.
Understanding the effects of inflammation on the ability of the adaptive immune system to mount effective antigen specific responses has broad implications in Immunology and in particular to the development of diagnostics and therapeutics in the field of cancer immunity and chronic viral infections.
These three objectives will be underpinned by the development of a joint translational programme, to carry out hypothesis driven clinical trials based on a close collaboration between clinicians and basic scientists to improve cancer treatment, and the treatment of chronic viral infections. To discover, qualify and validate biomarkers predicting treatment response and to explore how these can be utilised in prospective biomarker driven clinical trials.
The centre is founded on several long-standing collaborative relationships initiated by Prof Tao Dong (Oxford), who has been working between Oxford and China on topics including immunity to the Influenza virus and HIV since 2003, and more recently, Hepatitis B and C, with support from the former and current Directors of the Human Immunology Unit, Professor Sir Andrew McMichael and Professor Vincenzo Cerudolo. These working relationships have generated several high-impact publications and, more importantly, a solid foundation for the diversification of the research towards translational immunology. Significant contributions to scientific infrastructure and programmatic support in China have been provided by many sponsors including the National Science Foundation China (NSFC), the Chinese Ministry for Science and Technology, and You'an Hospital.
In May 2012, several high-profile Principal Investigators from Oxford, including the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University - Professor Andrew Hamilton, visited China for an event celebrating the collaboration between Oxford and China in the field of Medical Sciences. As part of this event a roundtable meeting was held to discuss the most appropriate areas for future collaboration. At this meeting, immunology was identified as a key area for development.
(From L-R) Zeng Fanyi, Darren Nash, Vincenzo Cerundolo, Cao Xuetao, Xin Lu, Peter Ratcliffe, Peter Horby, Rury Holman, George Fu Gao, Rao Zihe, He Wei, Sarah Rowland-Jones, Andrew McMichael, Zeng Yixin, Xu Xiaoning, and Tao Dong after the round-table meeting in May 2012
Memorandums of Understanding
In April 2013 Professor Hamilton visited Beijing to sign the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) establishing the CTI with Professor Cao Xuetao - President of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences. The potential areas for collaboration between Oxford and China were also discussed.
On behalf of the University of Oxford, Mr Darren Nash - Associate Head of the Nuffield Department of Medicine (Academic Support and Finance), also signed an MOU with You'an Hospital's Director Li Ning to formalise the establishment of this joint platform for clinical research.
Professor Cao and Professor Hamilton