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Synergistic engineering of anti-tumor immunity by synthetic biomaterials

Objective

Immunotherapy holds the potential to dramatically improve the curative prognosis of cancer patients. However, despite significant progress, a huge gap remains to be bridged to gain board success in the clinic. A first limiting factor in cancer immunotherapy is the low response rate in large fraction of the patients and an unmet need exists for more efficient - potentially synergistic - immunotherapies that improve upon or complement existing strategies. The second limiting factor is immune-related toxicity that can cause live-threatening situations as well as seriously impair the quality of life of patients. Therefore, there is an urgent need for safer immunotherapies that allow for a more target-specific engineering of the immune system. Strategies to engineer the immune system via a materials chemistry approach, i.e. immuno-engineering, have gathered major attention over the past decade and could complement or replace biologicals, and holds promise to contribute to resolving the current issues faced by the immunotherapy field. I hypothesize that synthetic biomaterials can play an important role in anti-cancer immunotherapy with regard to synergistic, safe, but potent, instruction of innate and adaptive anti-cancer immunity and to revert the tumor microenvironment from an immune-suppressive into an immune-susceptible state. Hereto, the overall scientific objective of this proposal is to fully embrace the potential of immuno-engineering and develop several highly synergistic biomaterials strategies to engineer the immune system to fight cancer. I will develop a series of biomaterials and address a number of fundamental questions with regard to optimal biomaterial design for immuno-engineering. Based on these findings, I will elucidate those therapeutic strategies that lead to synergistic engineering of innate and adaptive immunity in combination with remodeling the tumor microenvironment from an immune-suppressive into an immune-susceptible state.

Field of science

  • /engineering and technology/industrial biotechnology/biomaterials
  • /medical and health sciences/basic medicine/immunology/immunotherapy
  • /medical and health sciences/basic medicine/immunology
  • /medical and health sciences/clinical medicine/oncology/cancer

Call for proposal

ERC-2018-COG
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-COG - Consolidator Grant

Host institution

UNIVERSITEIT GENT
Address
Sint Pietersnieuwstraat 25
9000 Gent
Belgium
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 2 000 000

Beneficiaries (1)

UNIVERSITEIT GENT
Belgium
EU contribution
€ 2 000 000
Address
Sint Pietersnieuwstraat 25
9000 Gent
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments