Tumor Immunology

The immune system can control cancer and spontaneous tumor-specific immunity can be detected in cancer patients and in tumor-bearing mice. Recent evidence suggests, however, that cancer often subverts and exploits the immune system resulting in cancer progression and metastasis.
Therefore, targeting the tumor microenvironment and manipulating the immune system is a promising therapeutic option. Over the past ten years, advances have been made in anti-cancer strategies, including the use of immunotherapies and vaccination, some of which have met with considerable success. However, despite the induction of strong systemic anti-tumor immunity, immunotherapies were frequently unable to breach the local barrier created by solid tumors and their microenvironment. Moreover, too little attention has been paid to the development of multimodal approaches combining the inhibition of key tumor signaling pathways and immunotherapy. The synergies established within our URPP will enhance our ability to design new therapeutic strategies focusing on combined regimens and personalized approaches.
The specific focuses of this project are:

  1. Immune responses in the tumor microenvironment or blood during tumor progression or response to therapy.
  2. Assessment of innovative combination therapies to eliminate established tumors.
  3. Validation of findings using patient samples and translation into clinical pilot studies.
  4. Clinical tumor immunology (AP).