Dr. Wilfred A. Jefferies

Dr. Wilfred A. Jefferies

B.Sc., Biochemistry, University of Victoria, 1981
D.Phil., Molecular Immunology and Pathology, University of Oxford, 1985
PDF, Institut Suisse de Recherches Expérimentales sur le Cancer, EPFL, Lausanne 1987
PDF, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Karolinska Institute 1989

Clinical and Research Scientists

Senior Research Scientist, Vancouver Prostate Centre
Head, Immuno-Oncology Core, Vancouver Prostate Centre
Professor, The Michael Smith Laboratories, The Centre for Blood Research, Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health, The Departments of Medical Genetics and Microbiology & Immunology, University of British Columbia
Associate Professor, Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia


Dr. Wilfred A. Jefferies earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree from the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology at the University of Oxford for studies on glycoproteins expressed on activated lymphocytes. His discoveries include identifying the OX40 (CD134) co-stimulatory immune checkpoint molecule expressed on activated CD4 cells. He defined transferrin receptors (OX26/CD71) in the Blood-Brain Barrier and characterized diseases of the central nervous system in which hypervascularity occurs. From these observations, Dr. Jefferies created the p97/melanotransferrin “Trojan Horse” for delivering therapeutics to the brain for the treatment of brain tumours. Further work includes elucidating immune subversion mechanisms in viruses and tumours, along with methods to overcome these conditions, and characterizing the epigenetic regulation of antigen processing in cancer cells. Dr. Jefferies’ research group recently discovered the CD74-dependent Major Histocompatibility Complex-I (MHC-I or HLA) and the MHC-I recycling intracellular pathways underpinning cross-presentation in dendritic cells, both of which are critical for priming MHC-I restricted immune responses against viruses and tumours. Finally, his group has recently identified two important classes of calcium channels that function to limit inappropriate immune responses, leading to pathology in autoimmune disease and possibly cancer.

Dr. Jefferies’ current research program at the Vancouver Prostate Centre focuses on discovering and translating new therapies for disease. His current interests are in tumour immunology and cancer immunotherapy; antigen presentation and vaccines; and blood-brain barrier and angiogenesis. His work on cancer targets the restoration of the immune system’s ability to recognize tumours that have lost functional antigen processing machinery components, which may render selected tumours “invisible” to adaptive immune responses. His team is also utilizing novel screening systems to identify genes, proteins and small molecules that are able to restore and enhance immune recognition and killing of cancer cells. Notably, with other Vancouver Prostate Centre colleagues, Dr. Jefferies is leading an initiative to examine the use of IL-33 as an immune-biomarker for metastatic prostate tumours and a prognosticator for recurrence of prostate cancer in patients.

Dr. Jefferies has more than 100 publications, holds 60 patents, and has supervised 42 graduate students, 17 postdoctoral fellows and over 100 undergraduate research projects. His research discoveries have created the intellectual foundation for four University spin-out companies, representing a critical avenue for knowledge translation resulting in hundreds of full-time high technology positions. Overall, Dr. Jefferies’ research continues to contribute to understanding how immune responses are initiated and expanded, how tumours and infectious pathogens subvert these processes, and how autoimmunity results from dysregulation of the immune response.

A World Class Centre

The Vancouver Prostate Centre (VPC) has a track record of success that has earned it a reputation as one of the world’s most respected cancer facilities. It is a National Centre of Excellence and a designated Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research.


2016 Step Up team

Step Up Challenge fundraiser: February 25, 2018

The annual Step Up Challenge, raising funds for Prostate Cancer Canada, takes place in Vancouver on Sunday February 25. Click here to sponsor our relay team as they climbs 379 floors. Click here to volunteer to help with the event.

It's a Snow Day poster

It's A Snow Day at Mt. Seymour: March 9

Mt. Seymour is hosting It's A Snow Day, a fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC, on Friday March 9. The event will include slope time, a reception, and a silent auction. Click here for more details including how to register, donate and/or sponsor.




Work at the Vancouver Prostate Centre

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Discovery of a promising new medication to block "master key" of cancer growth

Dr. Chris Ong
Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Drs. Wyatt and Chi: ctDNA predicts resistance to AR-targeted therapy

VCHRI News article on study of ctDNA predicting resistance to AR-targeted therapy

Make A Difference

Help the Vancouver Prostate Centre fund research to find better treatments and a cure.