Towards efficient cancer immunotherapies: deciphering the landscape of antigen-presenting cells.

Anti-cancer immunity depends on efficient presentation of tumor antigens and co-stimulatory signals by antigen-presenting cells to anti-tumor T cells. The overarching goal of the lab is to decipher the landscape of antigen-presenting cells in cancer patients with the ultimate aim to develop more effective and precise immunotherapies. The laboratory has strong clinical links and works simultaneously with the mouse and human system. By using state of the art omic technologies, cancer mouse models, patient-derived xenografts and advanced culture systems, such as cancer organ chips, we study cell subtypes, signaling pathways, genes, regulatory modules and interactions that control antigen presenting cells in cancer.

Among the pioneering questions, we are interested in are:

  • How do dendritic cells change as they transition from homeostasis to tumor and tumor draining lymph node microenvironments?
  • How do non-hematopoietic cells, such as fibroblasts, evolve and acquire their exclusive antigen presenting signatures in the tumor microenvironment?
  • Which are the cardinal interactions that signal for T cell priming in tumor-draining lymph nodes and tumor tissues?

Maria Tsoumakidou, M.D., Ph.D. (Brief CV)