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Tasks of the IMU

Fight cancer specifically

Tumor immunotherapy aims to treat cancer by a specific activation of the patient's immune system. It represents a new, targeted therapeutic approach in cancer medicine with potentially sustainable effects. Immunotherapeutic treatment may consist of vaccination, administration of immune modulators such as checkpoint inhibitors as well as specific antibodies or the transfer of autologous T cells. The remarkably long-lasting antitumor effect of checkpoint inhibitors in clinical trials, even in metastatic situations, underlines the success of cancer immunotherapy.

Immune monitoring as a display

The increasing use of immunotherapeutic interventions in clinical trials is leading to a growing need for detailed monitoring of patient-specific immune responses. These new insights can identify more effective patient stratification and novel target structures. Thus, immune monitoring plays a central role in bilateral translation between bench and bed.

Immune Monitoring Unit accompanies studies

The Immune Monitoring Unit accompanies NCT-based IITs and industry-sponsored trials (phase 0-4) with a customized immune monitoring. The service includes counseling for an individual designed immune monitoring as well as the use of validated immunoassays.

With the help of immune monitoring, immunological consequences of conventional cancer therapies can also be identified. Thus, radiation therapy can lead to an immune response by inducing intratumoral immune activation, which in some cases even controls distant metastases (abscopal response). Classical chemotherapies can also induce an anti-tumor immune response through cell death induction in cancer cells (immunogenic cell death). Viral therapies have shown that tumor cells can be eliminated by a specific immune response against virus-infected tumor cells. Furthermore, targeted agents such as imatinib can prevent tumor-induced immunosuppression and thereby promote immunotherapy. Finally, even supportive physical activity (exercise) or diets may have a potentially relevant impact on an anti-tumor immune response.

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