Activating the body’s own defenses against cancer: how can we guide immune cells into the tumor?

Lay summary

In the search for more efficient treatment strategies for cancer, immunotherapy is one of the most promising avenues to date. This approach involves the activation of the body’s own immune defenses to find and destroy cancer cells and cancer-supporting tissue. Many research groups have successfully developed techniques to produce large numbers of anti-cancer immune cells, such as T lymphocytes, but the lack of recruitment of these cells to the tumor itself is often a major obstacle for clinical success. In this project we will search for new therapeutic targets to promote the migration of anti-tumor T cells into gastrointestinal tumors. Using an efficient immunotherapy protocol developed in our laboratory, we will investigate the mechanisms by which this treatment enhances T-cell recruitment into gastric tumors. We thus aim to discover new factors that promote T-cell migration. These factors may then serve as therapeutic targets to enhance the efficacy of T-cell based immunotherapy.