The main objective of our research program is to develop novel treatments using immune cells to fight infections and cancer. More specifically, we study the mechanisms that are responsible for immune cells function in order to better prepare them in the laboratory before we inject them into patients. This strategy is called adoptive immunotherapy. Adoptive immunotherapy is one of the most promising approach to treat cancers and infections that are refractory to more conventional treatments. Our group is already active in this area and has developed protocols that are currently tested in the clinic.
In the first arm of the research program, we study the signals that "program" immune cells so that they can effectively target infections and cancers. Our work is focused on the signals that will increase the migration of immune cells to the tumor and the signals that can reactivate exhausted immune cells (something we see often in chronic infections and cancers). Our objective is to communicate the right signals to the immune cells that we prepare in the laboratory so that they will be effective in the patients.
The second arm of the research program aims at improving the cell culture methods we use in adoptive immunotherapy. Moreover, we prepare the future by studying the immune reaction against newly discovered targets (antigens).
Our program is thus genuinely "translational", meaning that it rapidly brings discoveries to the patients.