Research Group GMP & T Cell Therapy

Prof. Dr. Stefan Eichmüller

T cell based immunotherapy approaches against cancer hold great promise as documented by the therapeutic success of checkpoint inhibitor application in numerous clinical trials. The “GMP & T Cell Therapy Unit” explores T cell mediated tumor rejection, working out new concepts for clinical application. In particular, our team investigates the functional roles T cells and macrophages play in rejection of melanoma and breast cancer, with special focus on miRNAs involved in these processes.
Using murine and humanized animal models the Preclinical T Cell Unit (G183) investigates (a) tumor derived antigens and/or epitopes recognized by T cells, (b) analyzes the biological functions exerted by various T cell subsets, and (c) determines inhibitory and/or stimulatory factors impacting on immunological tumor defense. We are thus aiming at the development of strategies endowing the autologous immune system with the capacity of comprehensive tumor cell eradication.
Melanoma, in particular, is characterized by early metastasis formation and strong chemo-resistance. Here, we could identify miRNAs that turned out relevant for both, tumorigenicity and invasive behavior of melanoma cells. Currently, we are investigating the functional roles of miRNAs in melanoma cells during tumor defense.
The realization of innovative tumor immunotherapy approaches constitutes a major goal of tumor immunology research programs located at Heidelberg. The GMP Unit Cellular Therapy (G182) has long-standing experience on the implementation of processing and preparation procedures for adoptive transfer of tumor –reactive T cells and other cell based therapeutics, according to GMP-guidelines.
„GMP“ stands for „good manufacturing practice“, holding strict rules for the production of therapeutics according to the German Medicines Act. Presently, we are producing an advanced therapy medical product (ATMP) consisting of reactivated, p53-specific, autologous T cells for the treatment of colon cancer patients (trial: NCT02577588). A second clinical trial using expanded TILs for the treatment of patients with advanced melanoma is in preparation.
Further information about our GMP activities is available on the German Website.

Contact

Prof. Dr. Stefan Eichmüller
GMP & T Cell Therapy (G182)
Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum
Im Neuenheimer Feld 280
69120 Heidelberg
Tel: +49 6221 42 3380

Selected Publications

  • Eichmüller SB, Osen W, Mandelboim O, and Seliger B (2017) Immune Modulatory microRNAs Involved in Tumor Attack and Tumor Immune Escape. J Natl Cancer Inst 109(10): djx034. https://academic.oup.com/jnci/article-lookup/doi/10.1093/jnci/djx034
  • Weber CEM, Luo C, Hotz-Wagenblatt A, Gardyan A, Kordaß T, Holland-Letz T, Osen W, and Eichmüller SB (2016) miR-339-3p is a tumor suppressor in melanoma. Cancer Res 76: 3562-3571. http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/76/12/3562.long
  • Zörnig I, Halama N, Bermejo JL, Ziegelmeier C, Dickes E, Migdoll A, Kaiser I, Waterboer T, Pawlita M, Grabe N, Ugurel S, Schadendorf D, Falk C, Eichmüller SB*, and Jäger D* (2015) Prognostic significance of spontaneous antibody responses against tumor-associated antigens in malignant melanoma patients. Int J Cancer 136: 138-151.
  • Gardyan A*, Osen W*, Zörnig I, Podola L, Agarwal M, Aulmann S, Ruggiero E, Schmidt M, Halama N, Leuchs B, von Kalle C, Beckhove P, Schneeweiss A, Jäger D, and Eichmüller SB (2015) Identification of NY-BR-1-specific CD4+ T cell epitopes using HLA-transgenic mice. Int J Cancer 136: 2588-2597.
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