Innovative tumor vaccines
Tumor vaccines can expand and activate endogenous cytotoxic T cells. We aim at identifying innovative platforms based on the use of viral vectors
Cancer cells express antigens, which can be recognized by the immune system. However, immune suppressive circuits in the tumor microenvironment inhibit the activation of immune cells, thus curbing immune reaction against cancer cells. Tumor vaccination is a therapeutic intervention aimed at delivering tumor antigens to patients to activate cancer cell specific T cells and thus elicit an effective immune reaction. Tumor vaccination strategies have recently made enormous progress, albeit their effectiveness is dampened by the tumor ability to evade immune responses.
The aim of this research project is to develop a gene-based tumor vaccine able to elicit an adaptive immune response against cancer cells. To do this, we are exploiting new lentiviral-based platforms, which combine expression of tumor antigens with molecules that prevent T cell exhaustion and activate antigen presentation by innate immune cells and cancer cells.