Doctoral fellow - Laboratory of Gene Therapy, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University
Doctoral fellow - Experimental Surgery Lab, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ghent University
Principal Investigators: prof. Niek Sanders (PhD), prof. Wim Ceelen (MD, PhD) and prof. Olivier De Wever (PhD)
Colorectal cancer (CRC) typically originates from polyps in the colon or rectum. It is the third most common cancer worldwide. More than half of CRC cases remain undetected, and this can have devastating consequences for the patient. The current cornerstones of CRC treatment are surgery, neoadjuvant radiotherapy, and adjuvant chemotherapy. Immunotherapy is also used but only works in a small subset of the patient population.
During my PhD I will investigate a combinatorial immunotherapy to treat CRC. Self-amplifying mRNA will be used to express the therapy. The first part of the treatment is a vaccine that encodes for neoantigens of CRC cells. The second part consists of immune stimulating compounds which are targeted to the tumor microenvironment. This therapy will be investigated in orthotopic syngeneic mouse models.