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Identify novel pathways to enhance the induction of protective CD8+ T cell responses

Objective

There is an urgent need for progress in developing prophylactic and therapeutic vaccination strategies that induce polyfunctional, strongly protective cytotoxic CD8 T cell responses. These could shield us from pathogens against which the presently available, neutralizing antibody-inducing vaccine approaches confer limited or no protection and they could be used to eliminate tumors or chronic infections. In contrast to this need, we currently fail to induce effector and memory CD8 T cells in numbers high enough to effectively impact an infection or the growth of tumors. As protective CD8 T cell responses are readily generated during several viral infections, we need to improve our insight into how pathogen protection is naturally achieved, identify why immune protection sometimes fails, and use this knowledge to develop novel vaccine strategies. We will use a well balanced approach of hypothesis stimulated and unbiased multisystem observations to exploit novel mechanisms and to find ways to augment the CD8 T cell response to a vaccine. We have established model systems that are uniquely suited to extract and test molecules that determine T cell differentiation and expansion magnitude. Along with that we aim to enhance our insight of immune responses in vaccinated individuals to prevent creating situation in which vaccines fail to confer protection or may cause adverse effects. We recently made very unexpected observations that challenge our current concept of T cell differentiation in chronic infections, which proposes that T cells terminally differentiate and become senescent. We therefore aim to redefine our understanding of T cell responses in such infections. This will also be pursued to unravel novel strategies to reactivate T cells in persisting infections. Overall, the project will strongly further our insight into CD8 T cell responses during infections and will support the development of more effective vaccine strategies to induce antigen-specific CD8 T cells

Field of science

  • /medical and health sciences/basic medicine/pharmacology and pharmacy/pharmaceutical drug/vaccines

Call for proposal

ERC-2013-StG
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-SG - ERC Starting Grant

Host institution

TECHNISCHE UNIVERSITAET MUENCHEN
Address
Arcisstrasse 21
80333 Muenchen
Germany
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 958 414,11
Principal investigator
Dietmar Zehn (Prof.)
Administrative Contact
Claudia Ziem (Dr.)

Beneficiaries (2)

TECHNISCHE UNIVERSITAET MUENCHEN
Germany
EU contribution
€ 958 414,11
Address
Arcisstrasse 21
80333 Muenchen
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Principal investigator
Dietmar Zehn (Prof.)
Administrative Contact
Claudia Ziem (Dr.)
CENTRE HOSPITALIER UNIVERSITAIRE VAUDOIS

Participation ended

Switzerland
EU contribution
€ 541 435,89
Address
Rue Du Bugnon 21
1011 Lausanne
Activity type
Public bodies (excluding Research Organisations and Secondary or Higher Education Establishments)
Administrative Contact
Davide Mercuri (Mr.)