Antigen presentation and immunotherapy
T cells are immune cells educated by professional antigen presenting cells (called dendritic cells) to respond to whatever is abnormal in the human body (ranging from infections to cancer). During and after education, T cells can differentiate into a wide variety of effector or memory cells. T cells have a cell surface receptor (TCR) recognizing a peptide presented by HLA class I or class II molecules on the surface of other cells, such as tumor cells. To escape from T cell mediated kill, tumor cells often downregulate their HLA class I peptide presentation before and after therapy. In contrast, in patients with autoimmune diseases, therapeutic downregulation of these pathways may actually lead to suppression of detrimental T cell responses.
Therefore the main objective of our research group is to discover mechanisms, targets and tools suitable for alteration of HLA antigen presentation, T cell differentiation and effector T cell function. To study this, we generally perform biochemical and immunological experiments on model cancer cells and tumor recognizing T cells.
NWO ZonMw VIDI
Bas Mulder Award (Alpe d’HuZes / Dutch Cancer Society)
Sanquin internal competitive grants for cellular product & process development (PPOC)