We analyze the role of platelets in immunology and tumor progression with:
- Role of platelets in immune evasion
- Molecular mechanisms underlying platelet-tumor interaction and their influence on cancer biology and therapy resistance
- Novel approaches to neutralize deleterious effects of platelets using drug repurposing
We characterize expression and function of immunoregulatory molecules by platelets, tumor and immune cells, especially NK cells. Among others, this comprises various members of the TNF/TNFR superfamily and the NKG2D/NKG2D ligand system. Moreover, we study the direct influence of platelet-derived factors on tumor biology and resistance to systemic treatment.
Our work aims to increase the basic understanding of tumor biology and immunology, but also to develop therapeutic strategies to block tumor-promoting effects by platelets. Altogether, our goal is to identify important molecular players which ideally may be targeted by available therapeutic drugs in a novel pathophysiologic context (drug repurposing). Development of inventive therapeutic strategies by indication extension for available drugs can be directly transferred to clinical application since the cumbersome and time consuming requirements for de novo production are not required. Thereby, patients with cancer can more rapidly benefit from results of our research.