Immunotherapy of cancer has witnessed a clinical breakthrough since the discovery and successful application of so-called immune checkpoint blockers. These are antibodies that block the function of immune checkpoint molecules, which negatively regulate the function of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs). Hence, immune checkpoint blockers boost the activity of anti-tumor CTLs, resulting in enhanced cancer cell killing.
Though the effect of these new therapies is spectacular in responding patients, the majority of the patients is still refractory to this treatment. One possible explanation is the presence of immune suppressive cell types in the tumor environment, which hamper the function of anti-tumor CTLs. Therefore, it seems logical to get rid of the immune suppressive cells, such as regulatory T cells (Treg), in order to improve immunotherapy.
We now discovered markers that are specifically expressed on Treg in tumors (and not on Treg in other tissues). In this project, we will generate Nanobodies against these markers and formulate them in such a way that will enable us to either deplete Treg in tumors or modify their function. We will test whether this strategy, in combination with immune checkpoint blockers, will yield better therapeutic responses as compared to each strategy alone.
Effective start/end date1/11/1931/10/21

    Research areas

  • cancer, immunotherapy

    Flemish discipline codes

  • Cancer therapy

ID: 47755023