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Project

Deciphering the dendritic cell compartment in ovarian cancer to assess their potential as tumor vaccines

With an overall 5-year survival of only 20% for advanced stage ovarian cancer (OC) patients, OC is a high unmet clinical need. Targeted therapies were able to improve progression free survival, though patients still relapse. On top, immunotherapy has so far not resulted in clear patient benefit. Importantly, the role of dendritic cells (DCs) as a key player in mounting an adaptive immune response has not been investigated yet in OC. Indeed, our lab has uncovered that vaccination with tumor-cDCs can elicit a therapeutically relevant immune response resulting in decreased tumor growth. Therefore, in this PhD project, we will evaluate the cDC heterogeneity in OC and the potential to use tumor-cDCs as vaccine to treat OC. More specifically, we will identify and characterize different cDC populations at the transcriptomic, proteomic and functional level in both a murine OC model and patient samples using state-of-the-art technologies. Considering the importance of chemotherapy in the treatment of OC and the negative prognostic value of immunosuppressive cells in OC, we will also investigate the impact of this on cDC function. As last, in the murine OC model, we will determine the effectiveness of the different cDC populations as OC vaccine. The results of this project will provide new insights into the role of cDCs in OC and will offer a novel therapeutic approach for OC that overcomes the currently witnessed barriers to effective therapeutic responses.

Date:8 Oct 2020 →  Today
Keywords:Ovarian cancer, Dendritic cells
Disciplines:Cancer therapy , Cancer biology
Project type:PhD project