Dr Esther Arwert heads the Functional Tumour Immunology team in the Breast Cancer Now Toby Robins Research Centre and at the Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery at the ICR. Her team is part of the ICR’s Centre for Translational Immunotherapy Initiative.
Esther received her BSc/MSc degree in Molecular Sciences from Wageningen University in the Netherlands. She moved to the UK to pursue a PhD at the CRUK Cambridge Institute with Professor Fiona Watt. During her PhD Esther studied the role of the inflammatory microenvironment in tumour formation.
Subsequently, Dr Arwert moved to New York and won a prestigious Sir Henry Wellcome postdoctoral Fellowship to work at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine with Professor John Condeelis and Professor Jeffrey Pollard. In New York she explored how macrophages can drive breast cancer metastasis. She then returned to the UK for the second part of the Fellowship at the Francis Crick Institute in London with Dr Erik Sahai. Here, she investigated how Cancer Associated Fibroblasts can sense genomic stress in cancer cells and modulate resistance to oncolytic viral therapy.
Late 2018 she joined the Cancer Therapeutics Unit at the ICR as a Biology lead on a drug discovery project that focusses on modulating antigen presentation in tumours. In 2022 she started as a team lead in the Division of Breast Cancer Research, while also continuing her drug discovery work with the Division of Cancer Therapeutics. The Functional Tumour Immunology team is interested in translational research aiming to target the local microenvironment to drive antigen specific T cell responses. The aim is to identify treatments to enhance existing immunotherapy options for breast cancer patients.