Development of cancer usually occurs in later life through uncontrolled growth of mutated cells that are escaping immunosurveillance - a multi-facetted process of interactions between tissues and immune cells. Selective manipulation of some of these regulatory circuits led to the groundbreaking success of immune checkpoint blockade, first for the treatment of melanoma, and in the meantime for increasing numbers of other solid tumors. However, not all patients benefit from these therapies underlining the urgent need to better understand the mechanisms behind immune checkpoint blockade.
We are interested in the construction of models predicting the outcome of immune checkpoint blockade by combining immunomonitoring and clinical meta data in melanoma. Furthermore, we aim to contribute to a better understanding of the interplay between the immune system and the tumor through phenotypic and functional investigations of different peripheral and tumor-invasive T-cell subsets, as well as immune suppressors.