Lay summary

Despite advances in the diagnosis and therapy of stomach cancer, mortality remains high for this affection. New therapeutic strategies are required, in particular for unresectable tumors and metastases. Immunotherapeutic approaches aim to restore effective antitumor immune responses and represent an emerging field in the treatment of cancer. For these approaches to be effective, it is crucial that cells of the immune system such as T cells are recruited to the site of the tumor where they can exert their anti-tumoral functions. In this project, we aim to develop strategies that enhance T cell infiltration in tumors in order to improve the efficacy of cancer immunotherapy. Pharmacological treatment strategies to facilitate infiltration of T cells into tumors will be explored, as will engineering of T cells to induce a gastric “tumor-homing” behavior. Results from this project will lead to a better understanding of how tumor-specific T cells infiltrate gastric tumors and how recruitment of these cells can be controlled by pharmacological intervention. This knowledge basis will be of high relevance for defining new strategies to improve the immunotherapy of gastric cancer and other gastrointestinal tumors.