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Scientific focus

Human malignancies frequently elicit adaptive immune responses in patients. The clinical success of immune checkpoint modulation demonstrates how powerful our immune system is (T cells in particular) in controlling and eradicating tumors, even at an advanced stage of disease. However, only a fraction of patients responds durably to checkpoint blockade, and others strategies such as cancer vaccination or combination therapies are being actively pursued. One of the strategies followed at the Department is to develop peptide-based vaccines. Therapeutic cancer vaccines have shown limited clinical efficacy so far. Nevertheless, in the meantime, our understanding of the interplay between human tumors and the immune system has increased considerably. We are now in a position to implement this knowledge into the design of more powerful vaccines and of therapy combinations in order to increase vaccine immunogenicity and counter-attack tumor-induced immunosuppression.

The aim of the T-cell monitoring group is to contribute to the understanding of immune responses against cancer and to apply this knowledge in immunotherapy. We are focusing on the description of adaptive T-and B-immune responses in cancer patients, either before or during therapy including immunotherapy. To this aim, fine subsets of T cells are investigated at the phenotypic and functional levels, in the blood of cancer patients and also within the tumor tissue. We also investigate other immune cell subsets interacting with human tumors.

Additionally, we are a founding member and co-organiser of the Cancer Immunotherapy Immunoguiding Program (CIP). The aim of this international working group is to improve the comparability and sensitivity of established techniques applied for immunomonitoring, to promote the development of complementary tools, and thus to contribute to progresses in the field.

Prof (apl) Dr. rer. nat Cécile Gouttefangeas

University of Tübingen
Interfaculty Institute for Cell Biology
Department of Immunology
Auf der Morgenstelle 15
D-72076 Tübingen, Germany

Phone: +49-7071-29 80994
Fax:     +49-7071-29 5653
Email:   cecile.gouttefangeas (@)