Speaker: Dr. Martinj Verdoes - Department of Tumor Immunology, Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences, University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Organizers: IRB Barcelona
Date: Friday 26 October, 12.00h
Place: Fèlix Serratosa Room, Parc Científic de Barcelona, Spain
Host: Antoni Riera & Eduard Batlle, IRB Barcelona
Cancer immunotherapy aims at the specific initiation or amplification of a host immune response against cancer. Tumors however, evade the immune system by generating immunosuppressive tumor-microenvironments to enable unhampered growth, by attracting suppressor immune cells and the expression of surface molecules that inactivate cytotoxic immune cells. This means that for successful immunotherapy the tumor has to be targeted from multiple immunological angles simultaneously. Our research group uses chemistry, molecular biology, chemical biology and immunology to design and synthesize tools and reagents to gain insight in how to (i) most efficiently ‘educate’ and boost the patient’s immune system to recognize the tumor and to (ii) eliminate or “re-educate” major immunosuppressive cells from the tumor microenvironment to tip the balance towards anticancer immunity. We have developed a platform for functional diversification of hybridoma produced antibodies by CRISPR/HDR genomic engineering. This enables us to synthesize molecularly defined multifunctional dendritic cell targeted vaccines, as well as immune checkpoint targeting molecules. Furthermore, we are developing cysteine cathepsin activity targeting small molecules to study and manipulated tumor-associated macrophages.