Doctoral fellow, department of Diagnostic Sciences (Faculty of Medicine and Health)
Principal investigator: prof. Bart Vandekerckhove (MD, PhD)
The efficacy of immune checkpoint blockers (ICBs) relies mainly on T cell reactivity towards tumor-specific mutant antigens, known as neoantigens. Despite the success of ICBs in different types of cancer, such as lung cancer, not all patients enjoy clinical benefit. A rational strategy to enhance the clinical effectiveness of ICBs, is to combine the treatment with a vaccine that aims to expand and broaden the neoantigen-reactive T cell repertoire. With this rationale, the labs of prof. Bart Vandekerckhove and prof. Karim Vermaelen developed a vaccine targeting tumor-specific neoantigens. The vaccine is called MIDRIXNEO and consists of patient-derived dendritic cells loaded with messenger RNA encoding a selected set of neoantigens. MIDRIXNEO is now being evaluated in a phase I clinical trial in non-small cell lung cancer patients in terms of safety, feasibility and immunogenicity.
The study of the immunogenicity of MIDRIXNEO, i.e. the capability to induce or expand neoantigen-specific T cell reponses, forms the basis of the PhD project of this researcher. T cell responses are studied in terms of kinetics, TCR repertoire, polyfunctionality, neoantigen- and tumor-specificity and in vivo functionality.
- T-cells with a single tumor antigen-specific T-cell receptor can be generated in vitro from clinically relevant stem cell sources. Oncoimmunology, 2020. (PMID: 32117593)
- Rapid and Effective Generation of Nanobody Based CARs using PCR and Gibson Assembly. Int. J. Mol. Sci., 2020. (PMID: 32019116)
- Nanobody Based Dual Specific CARs. Int. J. Mol. Sci., 2018.( PMID: 29385713)
- An accelerated, clinical-grade protocol to generate high yields of type 1-polarizing messenger RNA–loaded dendritic cells for cancer vaccination. Cytotherapy, 2018. (PMID: 30122654)
Contact & links
- Lab address: campus UZ Gent, MRB2 (entrance 38), Corneel Heymanslaan 10, 9000 Ghent