A SOUTHAMPTON cancer researcher is rallying people in the city to Stand Up To Cancer and help save lives.

Professor Aymen Al-Shamkhani, who has been based in the city for 20 years, donned a pair of bright orange boxing gloves to encourage men and women to strike a blow against cancer by backing the campaign and raising money for vital research.

Every hour, around six people are diagnosed with cancer in the South East.

Stand Up To Cancer – a joint fundraising campaign from Cancer Research UK and Channel 4 - raises money that helps take developments from the lab and transform them, into treatments for patients

Professor Al-Shamkhani, who works at Southampton’s Centre for Cancer Immunology is urging everyone to support life-saving research.

He said: “We need research to find the next breakthrough in cancer treatment. It is crucial, but also very expensive. That’s why I’m calling on the county’s fundraisers to get fighting fit and help doctors and scientists speed through breakthroughs for the benefit of cancer patients in Hampshire and across the UK.”

Prof Al-Shamkhani, works on immunotherapy - a new cancer treatment that targets the body’s immune system. His work focusses on white blood cells called T cells that are known for their ability to fight off infection. Advances have shown that immunotherapy can unleash the power of T cells to kill cancer cells too.

When a person has flu, T-cells go to the point of the infection and then attack it and gradually we start to feel better. However, when it comes to cancer, tumours are able to grow because they are able to stop T-cells in their tracks, effectively freezing them and preventing them from doing their job.

Thanks to a Drug Discovery Award of more than £450,000 from Cancer Research UK, Prof Al-Shamkhani is carrying out a roject to design a new antibody that will reawaken T cells allowing them to attack and kill the tumour.Since it was launched in the UK in 2012, Stand Up To Cancer has raised over £38 million.

It will culminate with a night of television on October 26. To get involved visit standuptocancer.org.uk.