dr. João P Portela Catani (PhD)

CRIG member

Postdoctoral researcher - Lab of Gene Therapy, Fac. Veterinary Medicine UGent
(PI: prof. Niek Sanders)

Research focus

The amazing ability of the immune system to recognize and modulate atypical micro-environments (tumor, inflammation) makes it the perfect weapon to fight cancer. However the high complexity of molecular pathways and cell populations involved in mounting the anti-tumor response makes the immunotherapies ineffective in a high percentage of patients. Expanding its benefits possibly goes through the development of combined therapies which systemic application that are frequently related to severe collateral effects.
My current research focus on the use of mRNA gene transfer to induce an intratumoral production of immunomodulatory molecules that can eventually trigger a strong anti-tumor response and avoid the collateral effects of systemic therapies. We are evaluating the synergy between intratumoral PD-L1 blockade and tumor antigen vaccination.

Key publications

  • Near future of tumor immunology: Anticipating resistance mechanisms to immunotherapies, a big challenge for clinical trials. Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics, 2017. (in press)
  • Intratumoral immunization by p19Arf and interferon-beta gene transfer in a heterotopic mouse model of lung carcinoma. Translational Oncology, 2016. (in press)
  • Vaccination using melanoma cells treated with p19arf and interferon beta gene transfer in a mouse model: a novel combination for cancer immunotherapy. Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2016 (PMID: 26887933)
  • Defective immunogenic cell death of HMGB1-deficient tumors: compensatory therapy with TLR4 agonists. Cell Death Differ. 2014 (PMID: 23811849)
  • CCL2/CCR2-dependent recruitment of functional antigen-presenting cells into tumors upon chemotherapy. Cancer Res. 2014  (PMID: 24302580)
  • Anticancer chemotherapy-induced intratumoral recruitment and differentiation of antigen-presenting cells. Immunity. 2013 (PMID: 23562161)


Contact & links