Magnus Essand

Key publications

Sarén T#, Ramachandran M#, Gammelgård G, Lövgren T, Mirabello C, Björklund ÅK, Wikström K, Hashemi J, Freyhult E, Ahlström H, Amini R-M, Hagberg H, Loskog A, Enblad G*, Essand M*. Single-cell RNA analysis reveals cell-intrinsic functions of CAR-T-cells correlating with response in a phase II study of lymphoma patients. Clinical Cancer Research, Aug 4 (on-line): CCR-23-0178, 2023. TS and MR are shared first authors; GE and ME are shared senior authors.

Sarén T, Saronio G, Marti-Torell P, Zhu X, Thelander J, Andersson Y, Hofström C, Nestor M, Dimberg A, Persson H, Ramachandran M, Yu D*, Essand M*. Complementarity-determining region clustering may cause CAR-T cell dysfunction. Nature Communications, 14:4732, 2023. DY and ME are shared senior authors.

Kruse B, Buzzai AC, Shridhar N, Braun AD, Gellert S, Knauth K, Pozniak J, Peters J, Dittmann P, Mengoni M, van der Sluis TC, Höhn S, Antoranz A, Krone A, Fu Y, Yu D, Essand M, Geffers R, Mougiakakos D, Kahlfuß S, Kashkar H, Gaffal E, Bosisio FM, Bechter O, Rambow F, Marine J-C, Kastenmüller W, Müller AJ, Tüting T. CD4+ T-cell-induced inflammatory cell death controls immune-evasive tumours. Nature, 618:1033, 2023.

Ramachandran M#, Vaccaro A#, van de Walle T#, Georganaki M, Lugano, R, Vemuri, K, Kourougkiaouri D, Vazaios K, Hedlund M, Tsaridou G, Uhrbom L, Pietilä I, Martikainen M, Van Hooren L, Olsson Bontell T, Jakola AS, Yu D, Westermark B, Essand M*, Dimberg A*. Tailoring vascular phenotype through AAV therapy promotes anti-tumor immunity in glioma. Cancer Cell, 41:1134, MR, AV and TvdW are shared first authors; ME and AD are shared senior authors.

Jin C#, Ma J#, Ramachandran M, Yu D*, Essand M*. CAR T cells expressing a bacterial virulence factor trigger potent bystander antitumour responses in solid cancers. Nature Biomedical Engineering, 6:830, 2022. CJ and JM are shared first authors; DY and ME are shared senior authors.

van Hooren L#, Vaccaro A#, Ramachandran M, Vazaios K, Libard S, van de Walle T, Georganaki M, Huang H, Pietilä I, Lau J, Ulvmar MH, Karlsson MCI, Zetterling M, Mangsbo SM, Jakola AS, Olsson Bontell T, Smits A, Essand M, Dimberg A. Agonistic CD40 therapy induces tertiary lymphoid structures but impairs responses to checkpoint blockade in glioma. Nature Communications, 12:4127, 2021. LvH and AV are shared first authors.

Martikainen M, Ramachandran M, Lugano R, Ma J, Martikainen MM, Dimberg A, Yu D, Merits A, Essand M. IFN-I-tolerant oncolytic Semliki Forest virus in combination with anti-PD1 enhances T cell response against mouse glioma. Mol Ther Oncolytics, 21:37, 2021.

Ma J#, Ramachandran M, # Jin C#, Quijano-Rubio, Martikainen M, Yu D*, Essand M*. Characterization of virus-mediated immunogenic cancer cell death and the consequences for oncolytic virus-based immunotherapy of cancer. Cell Death & Disease 11:48, 2020. JM, MR and CJ are shared first authors; ME and DY are shared senior authors of the manuscript.

Ramachandran M#, Yu D#, Dyczynski M, Baskaran S, Nelander S, Zhang L, Lulla A, Lulla V, Saul S, Dimberg A, Merits A, Leja-Jarblad J, Essand M. Safe and effective treatment of experimental neuroblastoma and glioblastoma using systemically administered triple microRNA-detargeted oncolytic Semliki Forest virus. Clin Cancer Research, 23:1519, 2017. MR and DY are shared first authors.

Jin C, Fotaki G, Ramachandran M, Nilsson B, Essand M*, Yu D*. Safe engineering of CAR T cells for adoptive cell therapy of cancer using long-term episomal gene transfer. EMBO Molecular Medicine, 8:702, 2016. ME and DY are shared senior authors.

Research interests

Cancer Immunotherapy – We develop novel CAR-T cells, oncolytic viruses and viral vectors that induce bystander immunity and reshape the tumor microenvironment

Immunotherapy has during the last decade proven to be effective and gained a strong position in clinical oncology. Although tremendous achievements have been made, we have only just begun the work to understand how immune regulatory mechanisms in cancer can be exploited for treatment.

Our research programs aim to understand the mechanisms that make cancer cells escape immune recognition and use this knowledge to develop new and better immunotherapies. We create innovative chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cells, oncolytic viruses and viral vectors and arm them with factors that can increase T cell recruitment and induce potent anti-tumor immune responses. To address antigen heterogeneity within solid tumors, we strive to develop immunotherapy products that can induce bystander immunity with epitope spreading and activation of endogenous tumor antigen-specific cytolytic T cells.

Most of our research is pre-clinical, but oncolytic viruses and CAR-T cells developed in the research group are currently being evaluated in clinical trials at Uppsala University Hospital. We are continuously developing more sophisticated products, and we anticipate that novel armed CAR-T cells, oncolytic viruses, and viral vectors will enter clinical trials within the coming years.

Group members

Magnus Essand, Professor
Di Yu, Associate Professor
Mohanraj Ramachandran, Senior Researcher
Chuan Jin, Senior Researcher
Miika Martikaainen, Senior Researcher
Bertin Mary, Postdoc
Jing Ma, Postdoc
Tina Sarén, Postdoc
Stefano Barbera, Postdoc
Tiarne van de Walle, PhD student
Arwa Ali, PhD student
Menghan Gao, PhD student
Paola Contreras, PhD student
Paula Martí Torrell, Research Assistant
Matthijs Schuiling, Research Assistant
Sofie Brosch, Research Assistant


Last updated: 2023-08-18

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