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SYMPOSIUM 2016

Our Mission

Cancer is one of the leading health problems. Once classical therapies (chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery) have failed. Other effective therapies are rarely available. Even though comparatively rare, viral diseases and virus-associated cancers are also difficult to treat in immune-deficient patients. Therefore, there is strong interest in utilizing the immune system to fight cancer and infections.
Recently, a few studies have paved the way for successful immunotherapy. The adoptive transfer of virus-specific T cells reconstituted viral immunity in the majority of patients and, despite major side effects, allogeneic T cells transferred in the course of bone marrow stem cell transplantation had strong anti-leukaemia activity.

However, since adoptive T cell therapy is difficult to perform and laborious, it is the least investigated form of immunotherapy, in comparison to antibody- or vaccine-based therapies. New technologies to more easily generate antigen-specific T cells, the availability of a wide range of potential target antigens and better knowledge of immune-regulation and tolerance mechanisms justify an in depth analysis of adoptive T cell therapy. Therefore, this initiative concentrates on adoptive T cell therapy of viral disease and cancer.
For this purpose, scientists from Berlin and Munich were identified for their expertise in the areas of basic and clinical immunology, molecular biology, virology and performance of innovative clinical trials. This nationally unique endeavour will develop experimental systems to generate highly effective T cells against a broad array of target antigens. In parallel, the group will define the conditions that allow the best performance of the transfused T cells in terms of survival, migration and efficacy in experimental cancer models and through clinical trials in patients. The long-term goal is the availability of "of-the-shelf" reagents to construct sufficient numbers of human T cells with any desired specificity within a week for clinical use. These T cells will be transferred into patients, who are pre-conditioned to have a T cell "friendly" environment, and who are endangered with life-threatening viral diseases or suffer from diverse forms of cancer, including several solid tumors.


SFB TR36 - Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Prof. Dr. Thomas Blankenstein
Institute of Immunology
Lindenberger Weg 80
13125 Berlin

SFB TR36 -Technische Universität München
Prof. Dr. Dirk Busch
Institute for Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Hygiene
Trogerstraße 30
81675 München