Our work is oriented towards development and evaluation of novel biologicals and combinations thereof, where activation of tumor-specific T cells is key. Our research is also focused on off-target effects related to these therapies, such as interactions with Fc receptors, the complement system and how this can be studied in humanized model systems. In a human whole blood model we have studied both adverse events in the form of first-infusion reactions related to interactions with immune cells and cascade systems (Fletcher et al. International Immunopharmacology 2018), as well as recall responses using peptide conjugates incorporating known T cell epitopes and how these responses are modulated by various immune modulating drug candidates.
In addition, we have focused our research on tumor-localized immunotherapy and specifically oriented towards bladder cancer. With the aim to locally enhance immune activation in the tumor micro-environment and tumor-draining lymph node, while sparing unnecessary systemic activation thereby avoiding induction of auto-immune symptoms. Bladder cancer is unique in that locally instilled therapy can be performed and studied.
Figure 1 shows two pictures of a tumor growing in the bladder, and T cells lining the tumor cell border. We are currently developing a novel bladder cancer model and characterizing this model alongside the MB49 model. We are also using this system to investigate novel immunotherapies and combinations thereof.
We are also focusing our efforts on a drug development project in collaboration with the SciLifeLab Drug Discovery and Development platform. For more information see: https://www.scilifelab.se/platforms/ddd.