Magnus Essand – Cancer immunotherapy
The research group develops novel CAR-T cells and viruses/viral vectors that can reshape the tumour microenvironment and improve outcome for cancer immunotherapy.
Immunotherapy has during the last decade proven to be effective and gained a strong position in clinical oncology. Immune checkpoint inhibitors and patient-derived chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells are today approved immunotherapies that can cure patients with metastatic recurrent cancer. 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 novel CAR-T cells and oncolytic viruses and arm them with factors that can lower immune suppression within the tumour microenvironment to induce potent anti-tumour immune responses. To address antigen heterogeneity within solid tumours, we strive to develop CAR-T and oncolytic virus products that can induce epitope spreading with activation of endogenous tumour 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 the University Hospital. We are continuously developing more sophisticated products, and we anticipate that novel armed oncolytic viruses and CAR-T cell products will enter clinical trials within the next years.