REACTION: A modular mRNA-encoded artificial receptor for focused re-ignition of anti-cancer immune responses

01 October 2023 → 30 September 2025
Regional and community funding: Special Research Fund
Research disciplines
  • Medical and health sciences
    • Adaptive immunology
    • Innate immunity
    • Cell signalling
    • Transcription and translation
    • Cancer therapy
    • Cell therapy
    • Immunomodulation therapy
Checkpoint inhibition mRNA therapeutics interferon dendritic cell toll-like receptor immunity CTLA-4 T-cell Cancer
Project description

Cancer immunotherapy in today’s clinical practice consists mostly of immune checkpoint inhibitors, which act by reactivating exhausted T-cells in and around the tumor. These drugs can produce considerable systemic side effects, and a large proportion of tumors are immune “cold” and lack T-cells, precluding any therapeutic efficacy. We have observed that vaccination using dendritic cells activated by a TLR4 ligand and interferon gamma can reverse the cold tumor phenotype and lead to massive intratumoral killer T-cell infiltration. In this project we will develop an mRNA-based artificial construct that can re-ignite anti-cancer immune responses while also avoiding toxic collateral effects. This approach can be implemented both as part of liposomal mRNA vaccine, as well as integrated into our exisiting dendritic cell therapy program.