Activation of the immune system to eliminate cancer has yielded promising results, both at antibody level and T cell level. The aim of my research is to redirect T cells by delivering specific T cell epitopes to cancer cells via antibodies.
To this end, we intend to deliver exogenous (virus-encoded) T cell epitopes to tumor cells to make these cells susceptible for killing by surrounding T cells. We want to accomplish this by conjugating such T cell epitope peptides to tumor-specific antibodies.
The first goal of this project is to create and optimize the conjugation of these peptides to tumor specific antibodies and subsequently, to test whether we can redirect and activate CD8+ T cells. The second goal of this project is to understand the pathway leading to T cell activation and to see how the epitope is delivered to our target cells.
This project is a collaborative effort of multiple departments within the LUMC, the Leiden institute of Chemistry, and Genmab.
In February 2018, I finished the research master of Life Science & Technology at Leiden University. I did my major internship in the group of Sander van Kasteren at the Leiden institute of Chemistry. During this project, I studied the differences in degradation by endo-lysosomal proteases of antigens with bioorthogonal groups and/or post-translational modifications. After obtaining my master degree, I started in April 2018 with my PhD research focused on redirecting CD8+ T cells to cancer cells within the group of Rob Hoeben and Maaike Ressing.