Immunotherapy of cancer has emerged as one of the most promising new developments in medicine. With the introduction of checkpoint blockade antibodies, which extend the anti-tumor activity of T-cells and patient-derived chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells, which search, target and kill tumor cells, outstanding responses and even cure of metastatic recurrent cancer have been reported. Recent developments in cancer vaccines and oncolytic cancer-targeting viruses have also progressed the field of cancer immunotherapy. However, we have only just begun the work to understand how immune regulatory mechanisms in cancer can be exploited for treatment in different forms of cancer.
Our research mainly concerns advancements of translational cancer immunotherapy, focusing on development of oncolytic viruses, CAR T-cells and dendritic cell (DC)-based vaccines. We are fortunate that oncolytic viruses developed in our laboratory are now being evaluated in two phase I clinical trials for neuroendocrine cancer and prostate cancer and that a concept of delivering oncolytic virus to hypoxic tumors using macrophages will be evaluated in a upcoming clinical trial. We are also involved in a clinical CAR T-cell trial for lymphoma and leukemia including acute lymphoblastic leukemia in children and a CAR T-cell expansion protocol developed in our laboratory is about to be evaluated in an upcoming clinical trial.
Magnus Essand, Professor, group leader
Alex Karlsson-Parra, Adjunct Professor, Chief Physician
Di Yu, Assistant Professor
Justyna Leja-Jarblad (50%), Researcher
Miika Martikainen, Postdoc
Chuan Jin, Postdoc
Mohanraj Ramachandran, Postdoc
Grammatiki Fotaki, PhD student
Jing Ma, PhD student
Tina Sarén, PhD student
Minttu-Maria Martikainen (50%), Research Technician