Term: 01.09.2019 – 31.12.2021

The facial skin is most frequently affected by non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC). However, the immunological profile of these tumors is still poorly understood. The anticipated ELAN project aims to address this problem by immunohistochemical investigations and may anticipate the establishment of an immunoscore which supplements the TNM classification in prognostic information and therapeutic decision making.

Term: 01.06.2020 – 31.05.2021

To investigate if high amounts of tumor cell dsRNA derived from ERVs regulate the tumor immune microenvironment by activating the ‘viral alarm’ or IFN response leading to high anti-tumor lymphocyte infiltration including establishment of tertiary lymphoid structures as well as adaptive responses (immune checkpoints, negative regulatory immune cells and ECM production) already in early precursor stages of muscle-invasive bladder cancer and how they might evade the immunosurveillance.

Term: 01.12.2020 – 30.11.2021

DNA damage repair deficiency is common in triple-negative breast cancer, especially in the presence of BRCA1/2 mutations, and is associated with a higher mutational load and immunogenicity. In this project, multi-spectral imaging will be used to investigate the spatial distribution of different immune cells in specimens of triple-negative tumors from 40 patients (BRCA1+, BRCA2+, WT) and their influence on clinical parameters.

Term: 01.02.2021 – 31.01.2022

Lung cancer is the most prevalent and deadly type of cancer. Although immunotherapy with checkpoint inhibitors can improve the clinical outcome, only a minority of patients responds to this treatment. Recent studies suggest that tissue-resident memory T cells (TRM) in the tumour mass correlate positively with prognosis and are essential for efficacy of immunotherapy. In the present study, a novel mucosal vaccination strategy will be employed to induce lung TRM against defined tumour antigens.

Term: not started yet

Cluster of Differentiation 109 (CD109) is a cell surface protein that is GPI anchored in the cell membrane. It belongs to the ?2-macroglobulin, C3, C4, C5 protein family and is expressed on keratinocytes, platelets, immune stem cells as well as CD4 and CD8 positive T-cells. In recent years CD109 was also described as risk factor for several tumour entities. In this project we will elucidate the interactome of CD109 on the cell surface and evaluate resulting cell- type specific changes.

Term: not started yet

SNAT1 mediates the transport of neutral amino acids into the cell. Preliminary data show a significant overexpression of SNAT1 in human melanoma cells compared to melanocytes. Transient downregulation of SNAT1 resulted in significant reduction of the cellular proliferation and cell cycle progression. With this project we aim to analyze the functional importance of SNAT1, an attractive therapeutic target, in human melanoma.

Term: not started yet

We found immunotoxins – fusion proteins of toxins and antibodies – synergistically enhanced 100-fold by Paclitaxel. We developed Duotoxins combining Paclitaxel-like DM1 and immunotoxins on one antibody. But, conventional immunotoxins cannot be conjugated efficiently. After switching to full-length antibodies, an active Duotoxin was generated. Here, we aim to use novel technology to extend the concept to other targets before applying for an extension of current DFG grant.