The Cancer Immunology program studies the immunological processes involved in cancer  development and therapy, and investigates cancers that derive from hematopoietic cells.
The immune system; the force within that can cure cancer

Immunotherapy has been a breakthrough in the treatment of patients with melanoma, lung cancer and aggressive lymphoid malignancies. Nonetheless, many cancer types remain difficult to treat because of intense crosstalk between the tumor and the immune system, which leads to immune suppression that hampers an effective anti-tumor response.

Mission and goals

The Cancer Immunology program aims to improve the understanding of immunity against cancer, by immune monitoring of patients and investigating the immune suppressive mechanisms underlying tumor immune escape. The program also aims to find novel biomarkers to identify patients who may benefit from immunotherapy as well as discover and develop innovative therapeutic strategies that overcome immune escape. Altogether, the research performed within the Cancer Immunology program will advance the understanding and the clinical benefit of cancer immunotherapy.

The theme Cancer Immunology encompasses a broad representation of the field. Both solid tumors and hematopoietic cancers are investigated by multidisciplinary teams with strong (inter)national collaborations. To ensure scientific and societal impact fundamental research is translated into clinical applications. Vice versa, clinical findings are further investigated in the lab to unravel underlying mechanisms, with the aid of state of the art core facilities.

Research lines

Research lines of the Cancer Immunology theme comprise:

  • Immunotherapy (e.d. engineered bispecific T cell engagers (BiTEs), CAR-T cells, dendritic cell-targeted vaccination, local immune modulation and engineered antibodies)
  • Immune monitoring, biomarkers
  • Cancer and autoimmunity
  • Immune metabolism
  • Tumor microenvironment
  • Immune suppression

Program leaders

Program members