Immunity and cancer | Cancéropôle du Grand-Est, la recherche innovante dans la lutte contre le cancer


The Axis D “Immunity and Cancer” is focused on the study of anti-immunological cancer research and on the development of new therapy.

Cancer cells have the capacity to multiply themselves infinitely without dying, evenif like any other cells, they are programmed to disappear. In most cases the immune system detects and eliminates them. It is only when they escape out of this control that a tumor develops.

The priority research axis D studies the interaction between the immune system and tumors with the aim of developing a new treatment strategy.

Its activities are two-fold: innovation and early preclinical research. The innovation part allows the identification of molecules or antigen hits to produce chemical, molecular or cellular vectors which are able to control tumor progression. The aim is to develop a new and innovative treatment strategy (eg. Antitumor vaccination, cellular therapy based on T lymphocytes…) and to validate them in early phase clinical trial.

Emerging Research Projects

Study of Th17 immune cells in breast and colorectal tumors

Despite improvements in more efficient chemotherapy, breast and colorectal cancer remain a major public health challenge. It was shown that the presence of certain types of immune cells within the tumors strongly reduce the effect of certain chemotherapeutic drugs. In a mouse model we have shown that the expression of CD39 and CD73 on immune cells can promote tumor growth. In this project, we are validating these findings in human breast and colorectal cancer and evaluate the role of these immune cells in tumor progression. We will also study the molecular phenotype of tumoral CD4 T cells by determining the transcription factors expressed by these cells. This project is supported by the Cancéropôle.

Immunotherapy from basic research to the clinic: UCPVax project

This project is based on a local innovation. A patent has been deposited on the identification of a universal anti-cancer vaccine: UCPVax.  After an encouraging preclinical study, the first clinical trial in human began in May 2016. This project involves a multidisciplinary network of clinical and basic research teams within the Cancéropôle’s territory with a known expertise in lung cancer.

Axis management